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13B Bakery and Bistro ready for business after many challenges – 13newsnow.com WVEC

Owner and operator Chanice Rawlison has beat the odds more than once to bring her food to her community. PORTSMOUTH, Va.

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Owner and operator Chanice Rawlison has beat the odds more than once to bring her food to her community.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Chanice Rawlinson remembers her dad’s cooking. 

“He was a truck driver, and in the Air Force, so he wasn’t home much. When he came home, he would cook for us to show that he missed us,” she said.

“No matter what went on, they tried to be strong for us and show that you just stay positive and keep moving,” Rawlinson explained. That’s left an impact with her ever since.

The cooking came in handy when Rawlinson stopped nursing school to follow her passion, starting a specialty bakery out of her home. 

The life lessons came in handy about six years ago when she, her husband and their 4 children (at the time) moved into a house that was shortly condemned. 

“We had to leave. We jumped around from family friend’s houses, sometimes we had to sleep in our car or end up at the shelter,” Rawlinson said, reminiscing. 

One of those friends’ houses, off exit 13B in Portsmouth, was where things started to turn around. 

“It’s really a symbol of positive change,” Rawlinson said about the 13B moniker. 

“It was scary, but we grew a lot closer and it opened our eyes to what people go through, and we want to be able to help make a positive impact on them,” she said.

The lessons that came from those times of hardship broadened Chanice Rawlinson’s goals for her growing culinary passion. 

She bought an old camper and set about turning it into a food truck. 

“Our mission is to bring good service and good food to communities that need it most.”

Then, with the truck nearly finished, tragedy struck again. 

“Storm hit last year, a huge branch fell out of a tree in our yard and landed on top of the trailer. It made a hole 5 inches across. The entire trailer flooded,” Rawlinson said. 

She and her family, now grown to six children, needed to start over. She said there was a moment of doubt, then.

“I thought it was over, took a couple days to cry,” Rawlinson said.

The budding chef quickly embraced yet another struggle. The lessons in resiliency her parents shared with her, became lessons she was teaching her own children. 

“Not quitting – we had already put so much work into it. Wanted to be a good example to my kids, and pursuing my dreams, showing them that you can still do it, no matter what happens,” Rawlinson explained.

Remodeled and ready to serve her community starting April 10, Chanice Rawlinson has some help, and some deja vu from days with her own father. 

“My oldest daughters are really good at it and we enjoy doing it together, so that’s really special to me.”  

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