Taste of Love Bakery to open retail store in early October.
Mary Diedrick Hansen, Staff Writer, The St. Paul Voice
October 2012, Volume 46 – Number 10
Until now they have been operating out of a commercial kitchen in New Hope, taking orders by phone and delivering the goods to customers. Their specialty is custom-designed cakes, such as pirate ships, princess castles, cans of pop, popular kids’ characters and other figures.Someone even requested a cake in the shape of a toilet. (Apparently the customer found that an appetizing idea.) You name it, they’ll create it. In addition, they offer cake pops, cookies, s’mores bars, truffles, bars and brownies.
With the opening of Taste of Love Bakery retail store at 870 Dodd Rd. in West St. Paul the entrepreneurs will be able to add beverages and breakfast and lunch items to their bill of fare.
The new space is small, just 700 square feet, but Philippi Larson are dreaming big and have designed their new digs to include a café area with tables and chairs, a bakery prep area, a kids’ play space, and retail space along one wall where boutique and party items will be for sale. Of course, a display case has been designed to entice customers with a presentation of their artistic cake creations. The floor, walls and ceilings have been redone, and the outside of the bakery will have a fresh new look, as well. With the help of their husbands, they plan to be open Monday through Saturday.
“People have been wondering where the mystical bakery is located,” said Philippi. “Now they will know.”
The recipe for starting a bakery began with Philippi, who many West Siders know for her recent work as program director with the West Side Boys & Girls Club. What they may not know about her is the knack she has for wild cake decorating cakes for her family and friends, and had begun contemplating her own cake decorating business. She decided to boost her level of production to one cake per week for a whole year, just to see if she could handle it. It was not a problem.
After Philippi delivered a princess castle cake to Larson, her friend and day care provider at the time, Larson, said she was “all in” on the bakery plan. That cake, by the way, is on YouTube with more than 432,000 hits. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in graphic design, Larson had opened her day care so she could be home with her kids. With the kids getting older, her artistic inclination was calling louder, and in the meantime, cakes were taking over Philippi’s house.
“Should I do my own business or not?” Philippi kept asking herself.
She dove right in by quitting her job with the Boys & Girls Club and taking a job at Target as a bakery manager. She said she worked tremendously hard for eight months while learning how to run a bakery. But the icing on the cake came last November when she finally felt ready to register Taste of Love Bakery as a new business in Minnesota.
“The (commercial kitchen) space is referred to as an incubator kitchen for small businesses to get on their feet,” she said.
Larson joined Philippi last March, letting her day care assistant take over more of the responsibilities of running that business. Larson is putting her artistic skills to work by creating unusual cake characters and designs that reflect the personality of the customer. The average price for a customized cake is $60.
“The idea of customized cakes is to focus on the customer and learn about favorite everything,” said Philippi.
Because the co-owners love children and both come from jobs focused on kids, they decided to start a “cakes for kids campaign.” Each week they will donate two custom-designed layer cakes for kids celebrating their birthdays. It will be done on a first come first serve basis.
Philippi said she use to buy birthday cakes out of her own pocket for kids at the Boys & Girls Club. They loved it and so did Philippi.
“There was a smile in every bite,” she said.
The key ingredient to the business is, quite simply, that Philippi and Larson love to bake and decorate, and love to make people happy. Taste of Love Bakery lets them do all those things.
View their cakes at TasteofLoveBakery.com or check out facebook.com/tasteoflovebakery. Look for a grand opening celebration coming soon.