Baking business opens doors for Okemos boy with autism

OKEMOS, Mich. (AP) — Baking is in Dominic Blatnik’s blood.

His great-grandfather owned a bakery in Butler, Missouri. His mother, Catherine, often had Dominic right by her side when she baked at home.

Now, Dominic, 16, of Okemos, has launched his own baking service: Baked Goods by Dominic.

Dominic, who has autism and is non-verbal, started the business amid the pandemic, after his speech therapist recommended he start baking, Catherine Blatnik said. Dominic started baking, delivering the items to his speech therapist and she would pay him.

“Dominic started making the connection if I bake for someone, I can make money,” Blatnik told the Lansing State Journal.

Blatnik said she wondered if she and Dominic could start their own business.

She researched starting a cottage food business and enrolled in a class through the Michigan State University Extension. From there, she and Dominic worked with an art therapist in Williamston to design a logo and pick the colors.

Dominic got his first order in November: cupcakes for a birthday party.

In January, they launched a Facebook page, started taking orders and making deliveries. Blatnik said they have filled about 40 orders since January.

“It’s been kind of cool to watch it grow,” Blatnik said.

Dominic will fill custom orders for cookies, cupcakes, breads and cakes. Blatnik said they’ll customize recipes to meet the customers’ needs.

Dominic’s personal favorite is chocolate chip cookies.

“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we probably never would have started it,” Blatnik said.

Dominic has filled orders for a cancer patient who gave the baked goods to the families who supported her during her treatments and a woman who bought treats for teachers at Hope Middle School, Blatnik said.

The process is good for Dominic because he bakes the items, gets the money and counts the money after making a delivery, Blatnik said.

“It’s teaching Dominic so much,” she said.

Dominic’s taken on more responsibilities, Blatnik said. He reads the recipe, gathers ingredients and does much of the baking.

“I try to do as little as possible,” she said.

All the people who’ve ordered from Dominic are supportive of his endeavor, Blatnik said. The process has taught him customer service and life skills, she said.

“These are skills he can use when he lives on his own,” Blatnik said. “Everything he’s learning is going to help him so much.”

Blatnik said they eventually hope to grow the business with a brick-and-mortar shop that employs people with special needs.

“I hope it does inspire other people to say, ‘hey I can do this too,’” she said.


More information on Baked Goods by Dominic is available on his Facebook page or via email at