The stories we’ve heard about people who found love while at UALR – as Brad and Kelli Marks did – inspired us to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a different way this year. Share your Grads in Love story like the Marks did below and win a sweet treat just in time for February 14.
The pair, who met when they were both students in the College of Business, are co-owners of Sweet Love, a Little Rock boutique bakery. Brad is also the office manager at a growing pediatric dental office.
Brad came to UALR by way of Bryant in 1998. Kelli, a Sheridan native, started college a year later as a Chancellor’s Leadership Corps student. Neither knew the other when both entered the advertising and public relations program.
But that soon changed. Introductions were made in a business statistics class and the two often carpooled. By the time they reached quantitative methods, they were passing notes back and forth – letters that Kelli has since tucked away.
A friendship blossomed, and even though the chemistry was apparent to others around them, they didn’t become an official couple for two years. Both were busy with their jobs and school, but a snow day left Kelli stranded in Little Rock, which led to dinner and a movie with Brad.
In 2004, Brad proposed to Kelli on her birthday. A “weddingmoon” took place in Jamaica, and then they settled into newlywed bliss. He worked at his brother’s dental practice, while Kelli was employed at a local advertising agency.
The story could end happily ever after here, but there is a tasty twist. A change in job status left Kelli considering her options. After pursuing a master’s of business administration degree at UALR, Kelli decided she wanted to go into business for herself.
Baking had been a longtime hobby which started when she baked her grandparent’s 50th anniversary cake. Kelli knew she was onto something when “friends of friends of friends” sought her out for baked treats.
Kelli learned how to set up a small business from her courses in the College of Business. During her independent study course, she worked with her professors on a project about small businesses and advertising. Her research went on to be published. That study, which also analyzed social media impact, set the stage for Kelli’s own market research, down to price points and location for her storefront.
Brad decided to take a leap of faith in this labor of love along with Kelli. He helped with the financial paperwork, and in January 2012, Sweet Love opened for business.
They knew the business could make it, Brad says, but they didn’t know how much work it would take to do so.
Sweet Love just celebrated its first birthday, ending its inaugural year in the black.
Do you have an interesting love story like Brad and Kelli? Tell us your Grads in Love story and you’ll be entered to win a gift certificate to Sweet Love.