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Chesterfield man overcomes severe disabilities to start brownie business

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Jamie Thornely feels most comfortable in the kitchen. It is a place where the 31-year-old discovered a hidden talent, baking.

Jamie is overcoming tall odds with each gooey batch of brownies he whips up.

“They taste good,” said Jamie.

The man from Chesterfield was born with severe intellectual disabilities. Jamie can’t read or write. He tried living in group homes, but regressed.

A few years ago his life changed when met professional caregiver Marie Walean.

“He is very enterprising,” said Marie. “He is a blessing. We are a family here.”

The guidance, support and love she provides are the ingredients Jamie needed to realize his dream.

“She treats me right and take me on trips. And she is like my mom,” he said.

Two years ago the man with a knack for baking officially opened his aptly named business: Jamie’s Brownies.


Marie Walean

“I was training him that business doesn’t happen overnight. There are steps you have to follow,” said Marie.

His creations are spreading with each word of mouth-watering dessert. Trays of Jamie’s brownies range from $16 to $20. There is no charge for smiles and laughs.

Make no mistake, the budding entrepreneur wants to produce dough too.

“Because I like serving them to make a profit,” said Jamie.

“That is why he likes to do the brownies because it is extra income for him,” said Marie. “The orders are delivered fresh from the oven… delivered to the houses or offices or whatever.”

Down the road Jamie hopes to open a bakery and hire people living with disabilities to give them a chance.

“Because I like it. I like it and I’m going to keep it a long time,” he said.


“I told his mom she brought up a really nice guy. That is the truth,” said Marie.

Jamie Thornley is a baker with a recipe for sweet success in the kitchen of life.

“I’m the brownie business owner. Jamie’s Brownies,” said the Chesterfield man said with a laugh.

If you would like to order Jamie’s Brownies email Marie or call 804-245-7471.

If you know someone I should feature in my “I Have a Story” segment email me.