A San Diego entrepreneur who serves sweet treats out of a mobile bakery has had to put a halt to her business – and her life’s dream – after her bakery was totaled by a hit-and-run driver in Pacific Beach.
Natalie Christensen has been baking since she was a little girl. All her life, she’s thought about opening her own sweets shop.
In October 2017, she took a leap of faith to fulfill her passion by buying a vintage 1951 Crown Trailer that, over the next six months, she would painstakingly convert into a mobile bakery that became known as The Sweet Bee.
In April 2018, she launched her business, bringing her treats to parties and small community markets. Life, as she put it, was sweet indeed.
Over the weekend, Christensen’s story took a sour turn.
Her mobile bakery was parked along Turquoise Street when a hit-and-run driver smashed into the trailer. Christensen believes the collision happened overnight Saturday. She discovered the damage on Sunday and was crushed.
“It killed my dream,” she told NBC 7. “I start to get short of breath because it hurts – it’s a physical pain. You didn’t just kill this thing; it hurt me. I hate that the person was so disrespectful that they couldn’t take accountability.”
Christensen said the culprit didn’t leave behind a note or make any attempt to reach out to her.
She said the trailer was hit so hard, the windows popped open on impact. Part of the license plate of the car that struck the trailer was imprinted on the back of the mobile bakery. Red flakes of paint were also left behind leading police to suspect the driver was in a red sedan.
The hitch used to tow the trailer is also now completely unusable. Christensen called the trailer a “total loss,” and said that after speaking with her insurance company, she would make the difficult decision to take the trailer to the junkyard later this week.
“It’s a real bummer,” she lamented, holding back tears. “I don’t want my business to be dead. I hate that someone took that away from me.”
Christensen completed all of the renovations on the trailer herself, with help from her two young sons. She said the mobile bakery was so customized there really is nothing like it out there.
“It’s a vintage trailer – it really can’t be replaced. I can’t get that back,” she explained. “This is my thing; I poured my heart and soul into it.”
Christensen said her mobile bakery was mostly used to cater parties. Once parked, it became the hub of a party, where people could gather around and grab a treat.
For Christensen, it was more than a trailer.
She said she launched her business to teach her sons “that you could follow a dream – and that you should.”
“This was what I could share with the world, from me, professionally,” she added. “It’s a labor of love.”
The Sweet Bee had only been in business for nine months. Christensen said this is a major setback for her. She thinks it’ll be at least one year before she can find a similar trailer, renovate it and re-open her mobile shop.
Meanwhile, she wants the hit-and-run suspect to fess up.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” she added.
For now, Christensen told NBC 7 she will continue doing what she loves – baking – albeit in a different capacity. Her youngest son turns five this week, and she plans to make him one heck of a birthday cake.
Christensen has started an online fundraising page here to raise $2,000 to help buy a replacement trailer.