Duluth dessert biz launches food truck fundraiser

Cheesecake & Company: The Menu will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, with dessert first, said Ashley Woodard.

Family pose for a photo.
Juann and Ashley Woodard pose with their children Jace, 2, Aayana, 8, Juann Jr., 1, Londyn, 7, and River, 4, in the Pop-Up CoLab on Sept. 27. The owners behind Cheesecake & Company launched a fundraiser to help them expand their business with a food truck, opening their offerings to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Cheesecake & Company may be going mobile.

Cheesecake & .jpg
Contributed / Ashley Woodard

After a busy summer at festivals and a successful stay at the Pop-Up CoLab , Ashley and Juann Woodard are looking to add some wheels.

River, 4; Londyn, 7; Aayana Woodard, 8; smile next to a sign for their parents' business, Cheesecake & Company, which recently launched an online fundraiser to raise money for a food truck.
Contributed / Ashley Woodard

Last week, they launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $30,000, which will help cover the purchase of a food truck, wrapping it, marketing and supplies for their new iteration. Cheesecake & Company: The Menu will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, with dessert first, said Ashley Woodard.

You'll still be able to get their jars of cheesecake in banana pudding, key lime lime pie and more — with a side of grab-and-go homemade teriyaki chicken, breakfast platters, wings and cheese curds.

On Friday night, they’d raised $340 of their goal.


Since their 2021 business launch, the Woodards have popped up at Sidewalk Days, a farmer’s market, Earth Rider Fest and the Northland Black Business Showcase .

They’ve appeared on MPR , and they’re among the nine entrepreneurs showcased through Oct. 15 at Downtown Duluth's Pop-Up CoLab, 317 W. Superior St. (Cheesecake & Company hours are 12-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.)

Cheesecake & Company sells its product in jars, including this strawberry flavor.
Clint Austin / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune

This brick-and-mortar opportunity has given the Woodards a chance to connect with the community in a more intimate setting, as well as access to a wider range of folks they hadn’t met in the festival circuit, which affirmed their place in the business community.

From this, they’ve garnered new marketing strategies, business and financial tips and collaboration opportunities. “We really can do this, we vibe with the community, and we offer something,” she said.

Woman behind a counter.
Ashley Woodard works in CoLab on Sept. 27.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

A food truck will help the couple expand their reach, increase their output and continue to support their family. About 70% of their profits go to college funds for their children: Aayana, 8; Londyn, 7; River, 4; Jace, 2; Juann Jr., 1.

A food craving during Woodard’s pregnancy with their fifth child inspired the business. "I was in a lot of pain with my son. ... Sitting there, eating cheesecake, I thought that'd be a pretty cool idea to put it in a jar," she said in a July 2021 story .

In a phone interview last week, Woodard said having an established legacy for their kids is paramount. “Nobody’s going to live forever.

“We want to make sure they’re financially ready, mentally ready and have all this to fall back onto,” she said.


If you go

Cheesecake & Company will be at these locations this fall.

Pop-Up CoLab 

  • When: 12-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday until Oct. 15
  • Where: 317 W. Superior St.

Boo at the Zoo

  • When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 15, 22, 29
  • Where: 7210 Fremont St.

More info:,

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Melinda Lavine is an award-winning, multidisciplinary journalist with 16 years professional experience. She joined the Duluth News Tribune in 2014, and today, she writes about the heartbeat of our community: the people.

Melinda grew up in central North Dakota, a first-generation American and the daughter of a military dad.

She earned bachelors degrees in English and Communications from the University of North Dakota in 2006, and started her career at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald that summer. She helped launch the Herald's features section, as the editor, before moving north to do the same at the DNT.

Contact her: 218-723-5346,
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