A Lake Waccamaw resident is splitting her time between Columbus County and Georgia, all in the name of entrepreneurship.
Deondra Jenkins is the owner and operator of a dessert business inspired by family recipes called Pudding Pleasantries. Though sales for her Southern pudding delights are booming online, she hopes that her leap of faith will bring a brick-and-mortar building to her future.
Jenkins’ upbringing started out modestly in a single parent home and ran between the triad of Lake Waccamaw, Farmers Union, and Hallsboro, but it wasn’t her mother or father who raised her. It was one of three aunts, Wanda Freeman-Gachett, who set the course of her life at the tender age of six weeks old. God parents, Jatha and Connie Freeman, were also a driving force.
As Jenkins grew up, she attended church and family gatherings, and she noticed one dessert in particular always left the table first: Gachett’s banana pudding.
As Jenkins continued to grow, she invested her time in extracurricular activities at East Columbus High School. The 2009 graduate went to UNC Chapel Hill and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African American Studies in 2013. She continued on to obtain master’s degrees at North Carolina Central University in both School and Career Counseling.
“Growing up in that triangle, especially Bingham Lane in Lake Waccamaw and Farmers Union, inspired me to be everything I could possibly be in this world,” said Jenkins.
With college degrees and a job at a local high school under her belt, she thought her life was set and going the course, but she soon found out God had other plans for her.
“I was on my way home from Durham on Labor Day weekend during the height of Covid in 2020, and the Lord kept whispering in my ear, ‘Get her banana pudding recipe’.”
Instead, Gachett did her one better and actually taught Jenkins how to make the dessert. She took a picture and posted it on social media not knowing the potential outcome.
It was met with open arms and hungry eyes.
“I posted it on my personal Facebook page asking ‘Would anyone be interested in purchasing this or any other pudding dessert?’,” explained Jenkins. “Everyone was automatically replying yes.”
She even had requests for the Southern classic, and many potential customers were willing to pay for the sweet treat. So much so, Jenkins set up a Facebook page, Linked-In, and even purchased a North Carolina business license to fulfill orders. Soon more flavors like Oreo Cocoa Dream, So Fye Apple Pie, and S’mores Delight joined the menu.
At the time, Jenkins still worked a full-time job, but the pudding orders kept rolling in. Even when Jenkins made the move to Georgia to be closer to another family member, it had no effect on sales. She simply began making the trip back to Columbus County once a month to make and deliver the orders.
Last April, she finally decided to pursue the dream of being a small business owner. She hopes to one day to open up her own shop and sell Pudding Pleasantries to the place she calls home.
“I took a leap of faith, and I’m doing what the Lord called me to do,” she expressed.
If you’re interested in ordering any of the tasty treats Jenkins has to offer, a full menu and prices can be found on the Pudding Pleasantries Facebook or Instagram pages. To place your order over the phone, call Deondra Jenkins at 910.625.5530.