Florida State Brother's Family Business Succeeds

Dec 15, 2022 – Nadeige Sterlin helps revitalize La Paix Bakery.

Nadeige Sterlin, Florida State, was on the verge of redirecting her career when COVID-19 altered the world in 2020. Although it presented challenges, as it did for virtually everyone, she used the temporary closures to help reinvigorate her family’s business.

After graduating from college in 2006, Nadeige was hired by Frito-Lay, a PepsiCo subsidiary, and after three years of working in south Florida, moved to the New York City area to work at PepsiCo’s world headquarters in Purchase, NY. After more than a decade with one of the largest U.S. companies, her career had evolved as she earned promotions into various roles. However, she felt a strong motivation to return to the Sunshine State.

In winter 2020, Nadeige made the decision to move back to Florida to take a hands-on leadership role at La Paix, the Miramar-based bakery specializing in Haitian breads and pastries that Sterlin and her parents, Lucien Nozile and Yolande Derosier, founded in 2005. Lucien had passed away in 2017, and the bakery was undergoing transition. Coincidentally, her last week at PepsiCo in March 2020 was the week that COVID-19 shutdowns began.

The business closures and economic fallout triggered by COVID provided understandable challenges for Nadeige’s family business. However, she, Derosier and sister Natasha Janvier took advantage of the slowdown to rebrand La Paix and modernize its equipment, renovate its retail area and revitalize its marketing strategy.

“One unique aspect about bakeries is the heavy investment they require in capital assets,” Nadeige said. “Mixers, ovens, refrigeration designed for large-scale production are big-ticket items. And, the price of eggs, flour and other essential goods are very vulnerable to inflation. It was important to modernize and automate our equipment and our processes to be more efficient and profitable.”

Of course, without a quality product, profit is unsustainable. La Paix built a reputation through its high-quality Caribbean-style breads, which are known for being dense and chewy, and an array of flavorful swet and savory pastries. In addition to its storefront, La Paix also sells its products retail at numerous groceries and shops throughout Florida and south Georgia. Thanks to the store’s streamlining, Nadeige said La Paix was on track to expand its retail footprint into more stores across the Southeast. Brother Sterlin said the company was working to expand its capabilities to ship nationwide and compete for local-government contracts. La Paix, which currently has 12 employees, is also working on opening a second location sometime during 2023.

Community involvement has long been a La Paix priority. The bakery partnered with a local nonprofit to provide free pastries during a voter-registration event, and it has partnered with local officials to help its provide local-government information to its customers.

“No matter how large or small a business, it’s important to do what you can to give back,” Nadeige said.

La Paix’s numerous investments have paid off. Enduring 2020’s tributions, the bakery enjoyed 70% revenue growth in 2020 and approximately 50% in 2021, and La Paix is tracking for a 40% jump for 2022. The bakery’s success is enabling a move opening a second location, which will nearly triple its square footage that will provide more production capacity and space for café seating.

“With a small business, you have to own your processes from end-to-end,” Brother Sterlin said. “Working for a bigger company provided examples in efficiency and scalability that I was able to apply to La Paix’s operations.”

Nadeige also attributes lessons learned from her time as a collegiate Deltasig, where she served as president of Gamma Lambda chapter, in helping prepare her for growth: “I was attracted to Delta Sigma Pi’s emphasis on teamwork, personal growth and leadership development. During my time in the chapter, we were able to double the chapter’s size and revamp our fundraising efforts. It was a great learning experience that prepared me for the real world.”

  • Brothers of Delta Sigma Pi