Cheesecake company slices a bigger piece of dessert market

Cheesecake company slices a bigger piece of dessert market

Success is truly sweet for an Ashland dessert company. Daystar Desserts doubled in size over the last year. Now, it's "World's Best Cheesecake" company is delivering cheesecakes right to your door.

A whopping four pound cheesecake rolls off the assembly line every 3.5 seconds.

The World's Best Cheesecake company started in Virginia in 1957. Daystar Desserts bought it in 2004, and now, for the first time, customers can order them online from a wide variety of flavors or made to order.

"People have been emailing us, saying, 'Is this the same World's Best Cheesecake I had when I was a kid?'" said Daystar CEO John Fernandez of the customer response.

John Fernandez started Daystar Desserts in New York when he was just 19.

"I realized this is not a bad idea, maybe I could do this as a full time business," said Fernandez. "I started making desserts in my mother's kitchen."

He and a partner sold their specialty cakes to restaurants, 15 cakes a day. Fernandez later moved the business to a plant in Ashland where they now make 15,000 cakes a day.

"We do upscale, individual desserts," Fernandez told us, showing off samples of tiramisu, carrot cakes, and chocolate cakes. "We're doing some desserts in mason jars now. The cheesecakes are our core, the World's Best Cheesecake."

The Small Business Administration named Fernandez Small Business Person of the Year in 2010. Last year, he says the company shifted from selling mainly to restaurants and hotels, to selling to nearly every major grocery retailer in the country.

"When I came down in 2004, we had 24 employees," said Fernandez. "Last year we went from 98 to 220."

Now through a partnership with experts Mark Creary of Data Directions, Brian Harding at BHVA Ventures, and Dave Saunders with Madison+Main, customers can order World's Best Cheesecakes directly online.

Once you order from the website, Fernandez says they can deliver usually within two days (one day in greater Richmond). They ship the cheesecake on dry ice to keep it frozen.

They're hoping you'll think it's the world's best order you've ever placed.