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comes from Chuck’s mother. She was one of those saintly, Southern women, who believed every problem could be solved with baked goods or Epsom salt, and who signed every note with a doodle of a smiling angel. Her influence on Chuck’s life was so integral that when he mentions losing his mother to cancer in 2004, that unwavering smile in his eyes disappears completely. Not only is his passion for baking a source of comfort that reminds him of her, it keeps her legacy alive. The idea of turning that passion into a business never occurred to Chuck, until his health demanded he reevaluate his career in advertising. While living in New York, Chuck developed a curious, tingling numbness on one side of his face. It disappeared for a while and then reappeared on the other side. He matter-offactly tells me the story of his diagnosis. “When it moved to the other side of my face, it went from a thousand possible things to like, seven. Travelling numbness can only be a few things. My doctor said, ‘It sounds like multiple sclerosis; let me do an MRI.’” So they did the test, found the lesions on his brain, and diagnosed him right there. Though multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease that can be terminal, Chuck chose to see it as a blessing and a window of opportunity. As he puts it, at the time he was diagnosed, he was burnt-out on advertising—doing the same thing ad nauseam, pantomiming passion for work he didn’t really care for. His diagnosis was the alarm that woke him from a spiritual and professional stupor. “Everything just started coming into focus—what was important, what was good for me, and what was not. What God’s plan was, and what God’s plan is, started to make sense.” Initially, God’s plan involved chocolate, not cookies. Chuck left his job in advertising and got the ball rolling with a new business venture selling gourmet chocolates. He had an investor lined up and was nearing launch when the stress of the situation aggravated his MS, to the point where he lost the use of his legs for several days. It became clear that chocolate wasn’t the right fit. He abandoned that endeavor and reflected on what exactly he was trying to accomplish by starting a new business. Though he had broken from the executive grind, he realized he

"EVERYTHING JUST STARTED COMING INTO FOCUS— WHAT WAS IMPORTANT, WHAT WAS GOOD FOR ME, AND WHAT WAS NOT."

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Profile for Native

Native | February 2013 | Nashville, TN  

Featuring Nashville's Justin Townes Earle, Karoake Cab, Kangaroo Press, Poetry Sucks, Odessa Rose, The Stone Fox, No. 308, Chucklet and Hone...

Native | February 2013 | Nashville, TN  

Featuring Nashville's Justin Townes Earle, Karoake Cab, Kangaroo Press, Poetry Sucks, Odessa Rose, The Stone Fox, No. 308, Chucklet and Hone...