A year after opening her bakery, She Takes the Cake owner Melissa Beck is still stunned by her success.
“I can’t believe I made it,” she told The Hub. “I’ve always been optimistic, but this first year was such a learning curve. I hope I’ve worked out some of the wrinkles.”
Beck moved from making cakes and other treats out of her own home to running her own restaurant a year ago last week. She said if she had been asked three years ago if she wanted to open a cafe, her answer would have been a firm no, but that she is still relishing the challenge.
“The most rewarding part is making someone’s day with some small-talk and a coffee,” she said. “But it’s also great to have the freedom to do what I want and be creative.”
For Beck, just talking with her customers is one of the most important parts of her business, as well as what motivates her. She said without them, she would never have made it so far.
Beck said the toughest part has been the long hours, sometimes as many as 16 and 18 hours a day when it’s busy.
“I don’t have time to get sick, so I don’t,” she said laughing. “I only didn’t come in once because I was sick in the last year.”
To celebrate the cafe’s first anniversary, Beck decorated the space with balloons and gave away free coffees to the lucky customers who happened to get star stickers on their take-away cups. She also set up a draw for coffee-related products.
As for what’s coming up next for She Takes the Cake, Beck said she wants to add in more community events to her weekly roster.
“I really want to get live music going again,” she said, explaining that she would like for someone already on the local music scene to take the lead on organizing performers. “We have the venue, but it’s tough to recruit the musicians and get the word out to the audience as well.”
Other than that, Beck said her focus would be on keeping up what she has started and making sure the level of quality of both food and service remains high.
“I really like the food here,” said regular customer Kaylynne Parkes. “It’s awesome that they responded to customer requests and brought in almond milk. The service here is the best, bar none.”
The big question, however, is whether Beck will go back to making the specialty cakes she used to make when she ran her business out of her home.
“No,” she said. “I choose customers over cakes.”
Beck explained that she would need specialty staff and more space in order to make the kind of cakes she was selling when she worked out of her own home.
“It means I wouldn’t be out front where I need to be,” she said. “We have amazing customers. They’re the reason we’re here a year later, and I want to make sure I’m doing my best for them.”