Abagale Stone would have had a busy high school career even if she was just part of the International Baccalaureate program at Palisade High School, ran varsity cross-country and played the piano, guitar and violin.
But couple that with running a business and patenting a product, her high school years were downright swamped. In fact she would spend most days getting her schoolwork done during school hours and spending her lunch time and evenings working on the legal side of business and baking at her home on East Orchard Mesa.
"I never stopped running," Stone, 18, said.
Stone graduated from Palisade in May, but her business, Spot Bakery, where she bakes macarons for wholesale is still going. This summer, she was finally able to patent her packing product that holds macarons and mini cupcakes in place.
The packaging is a plastic clam shell that holds four mini cupcakes or eight macarons — a french pastry made with egg whites and icing filling. Each blister in the package holds a macaron and creates an internal lid that holds down the cake portion of a cupcake. The main part of the patent comes from the detachable plastic base of the package with a pressure fit. The base allows the packing to stand vertically. It is made from 100 percent recycled water bottle plastic and is manufactured in the U.S.
Stone has been focused on macarons for the past year and a half, deciding to embrace perfecting the pastry and knowing that they aren't widely available in the Grand Valley.
"They are a hard pastry to make and I liked the challenge," she said.
She first began the business as part of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce's Young Entrepreneur Academy when she was 12. She decided on baking and focused on cupcakes. But when she started fiddling with the packaging, she knew she was onto something that could continue after her time in the program ended.
Stone said she enjoyed the program and obtained a lot of knowledge on how to run a business and how to be more comfortable speaking in front of people.
"It's a good way to learn some life skills," she said.
The chamber's YEA Program Manager Darcy Weir said she is glad to see a program graduate having success after high school. "We try to be as supportive as we can when they graduate," Weir said.
Stone spent most of her summer baking and selling on her website, spotbakery.com, and working at the Colterris Winery's tasting room.
Colterris owner Theresa High said she was immediately impressed with Stone and her products.
"It's a very high-end product and matched up well with what we do," High said. "It's just amazing for an 18-year-old to know what needed to be done to attract people to buy her product."
Stone started mostly helping in the tasting room, but when High learned what Stone did on the side, she started selling macarons out of the winery and working with winemakers to pair different macarons with different wines.
Stone also took part in some special events and worked to make a package exclusively for Colterris. She is currently working to make some more macarons for Colterris before heading off to school.
"She's very consumer oriented. She's all about quality," High said of Stone. "She seems to have a vision of what it is she wants to do and puts it into play. That's very special when it comes to marketing, sales and business."
Stone will leave Colorado on Aug. 17 as she gets set start to start her freshman year at the University of Texas in Austin. She will double major in finance and either mechanical engineering or applied mathematics.
She won't be baking much while in Texas, but will keep her website up and running and will bake when she's home from school. While in Austin, she plans to look into furthering her business and hopes to produce a "bake-your-own macaron" kit that will include one of her patented packages.
As for making Spot Bakery a career, Stone said she likes the artistic liberties she has as a business owner, but is not yet ready to make a firm career commitment.
"I'm open to where life goes," she said.