by LINDA FRABL | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Nothing But Success

Even if you don’t recognize the name of the Fortin family matriarch, it’s possible you’ve eaten some of the sumptuous cakes she sells. As the entrepreneur responsible for bringing the Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise to San Diego, Mara Fortin has happily settled into her Pacific Highlands Ranch East home along with husband Jason and her daughters Kendall, 13, and Karyn, 11. Of her love for Carmel Valley, Mara commented, “We enjoy the great schools and convenient and accessible shopping.” Jason agreed, stating, “We very rarely need to leave the community to get our household items.”

family_fortin_3Originally from San Diego, Mara attended Mount Carmel High School in PQ. After earning her law degree from the University of Arizona, Mara toiled for eight years as an attorney in Las Vegas. She burned out and moved back to San Diego when her daughters were both under age two, and opened the very first franchise of Nothing Bundt Cakes. Now Mara oversees seven local Nothing Bundt Cakes locations – the most recent storefront to open is in the Pacific Highland Ranch shopping center.

Mara met Jason about a year and a half ago while he was still living in Pittsburgh, PA. After long-distance dating, Jason moved to San Diego last summer, and now the blended family gets along famously. Jason keeps busy as an entrepreneur, spearheading a new food concept on the West Coast that is already thriving on the East Coast.

family_fortin_4When discussing her entrepreneurial brood, Mara admitted, “We are the ‘bundt cake’ family!” She continued, “We are also homebodies. We’re very low-key and low maintenance, and we like to watch shows and play board games together.” Jason added, “I play basketball and skateboard with the girls, and every Sunday afternoon I cook dinner for the family.” But rest assured, even with the family’s seemingly relaxed attitude, Jason revealed, “We are also very competitive with one another about pretty much anything!”

Politically active, Mara sits on several small business boards and councils, and regularly travels to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She proclaimed, “I love to create new jobs and watch people grow, especially young women.” Describing her own daughters as having unique, natural leadership and artistic abilities, Mara said, “Watch out for one or more members of this family to run for an elected office in the future – maybe even president!”

Parents: Mara Fortin and Jason Bell (Stepfather)
Children: Kendall Rae (13), Karyn Elizabeth (11)
Community: Pacific Highlands Ranch East; Casabella
Hometowns: Mara – San Diego; Jason – Pittsburgh, PA
Professions: Small business owners
Pets: Link – Rottweiler/terrier mix; Nala – Chihuahua/terrier mix; Katniss – cat
Favorite Local Spot: Nothing Bundt Cakes

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