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Feature Story

Baker’s Mark For Jay Qualls, a twisting career path becomes a cakewalk.


ike so many Gen-Xers, Jay Qualls’ route to success has been a circuitous one. Qualls, who grew up in Fairview, Tenn., began his college years at MTSU and continued to work at his education on and off while he started a family and worked at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in business administration for 15 years. In 2003, Qualls received his B.S. in business from MTSU and underwent bariatric weightloss surgery. These events led to a career change—a position at Centennial Medical Center’s Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence—followed by a transfer to Baptist Hospital, and then, when Baptist and St. Thomas merged, the loss of his position. Out of work at age 36, Qualls realized that he wanted to take control of his own destiny. His partner, Dr. William Langston, a psychology professor at MTSU, asked Qualls a pivotal question: “What would you do if you could do anything in the world?” “Make cakes,” Qualls answered without hesitation. That simple answer led to the opening of a combination deli/ bakery in Murfreesboro in 2005, but it soon became evident to Qualls that he was trying to do all things for all people. “I was working 24/7,” he says. “We made cakes, we catered, we served lunch, we met with brides—but I realized during that first chaotic year that my passion was wedding cakes.” In 2006, the business was redefined as Maples Wedding Cakes. Since focusing his talents on wedding cakes, Qualls has been featured in the recent 15th anniversary edition of Martha Stewart Weddings. He has traveled to Montreal continued on page 36

Spring 2011 | 13 |

MTSU Magazine April 2011  
MTSU Magazine April 2011  

MTSU Magazine is the premier print publication for Middle Tennessee State University. Published by the Office of Marketing and Communication...