Don’t look back. Keep going forward.
That’s what Mollie Adler’s father said to her before he died several decades ago. And she hasn’t looked back since — even as she is fighting to save her home with her new business “Miss Mollie’s Brownies.”
Around two years ago, this single mother of two hit hard times when her divorce not only left her struggling to put food on the table but also resulted in her Shoreham home going into foreclosure. Adler suffered another huge blow last September when she was laid off from her part-time job. With kids to feed and a home to worry about, baking brownies became Adler’s best bet.
Adler established her business after applying to New York’s Self-Employment Assistance Program last year. She was accepted into the program in October and started recycling water bottles to help pay for brownie ingredients. She’s currently selling her brownies at the Port Jefferson Winter Farmers Market.
“She’s always wanted to pursue a career in baking,” Denise Rohde said. “Her brownies honestly are her claim to fame. It’s almost like getting laid off was a blessing in disguise because it gave her time to actually pursue her dream.”
Rohde, of Baiting Hollow, met Adler nearly 17 years ago and has seen her through the many obstacles in her life — including the first time Adler was laid-off several years ago. After losing her second job, Adler decided to pursue her dream.
“I just had to reach and say this is what I’m going to do,” Adler said about creating Miss Mollie’s Brownies. “I’m going to do it for me. I’m going to have hours that make sense for me and I want to empower myself.”
But a chronic health condition further complicated Adler’s life when she started losing her sense of smell and taste. While she can taste salty or sweet foods, she can’t taste flavors, and has no sense of smell. Regardless, her fudgy brownies have friends, family members and clients coming back for more.
While her business is only a few weeks old, Adler has a wide range of brownie flavors including classic, espresso and nutty. Some seasonal flavors include apple pie, s’mores, mint and lavender, which she’s perfected with the help of her children who taste-test the brownies. But their help doesn’t stop there.
Adler’s daughter Melanie, who doesn’t share her mother’s last name, was the first to tell her mom’s story. Now, with the help of Adler’s graphic designer Gary Goldstein, Adler’s clients can read her story on the tag tied to each of her brownies. Goldstein met Adler more than a year ago. Goldstein, an art teacher who is designing Adler’s labels for free, started working with her last November. In that time, he’s seen her tenacity as she works to save her home.
“She deserves this,” he said. “She deserves not only things going well for her, but to be successful because she’s a dedicated mom and she’s hard-working. Like everyone else in life, you have your ups and downs, but this is a woman I envision being successful.”
In 2014, according to www.singlemotherguide.com, nearly 12 million families in America were single-parent families. According to Port Jefferson resident Pat Darling, a friend of Adler, some single parents don’t always pick themselves up when they hit hard times.
“I think when a person is down, instead of staying there they should reach, and they should dream — and she’s reaching for her dreams,’ Darling said. “I hope they all come true.”
Adler doesn’t just want her dreams to come true. She also wants to show her kids and single parents alike what dedication and perseverance can achieve. She said she hopes to create a place for single parents to help them through their hardships once her business takes off.
“Everyday I get up and do whatever it takes to get this done,” Adler said about building her business. “I’m not going to stop until “Miss Mollie’s Brownies” is a household name.”