We got slammed,” said Jayne Torline of her bakery’s grand opening last month in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, Mo. The retail bakery, called 3 Women and an Oven, opened Dec. 8 to a flurry of holiday business. “The timing wasn’t good because we weren’t prepared for the volume of business,” Torline said.
But working 20-hour days getting their bakery running during the holidays, Torline with partners Trish Sullivan and Stacy Webb feel they have a winning proposition on their hands. The women began their business out of their homes two years ago and built a solid base of restaurant and corporate customers.
Moving to the new 1,700 sq.-ft. space, 3 Women and an Oven, is the only retail bakery in its neighborhood. The bakery’s name has been key to its initial notoriety. “People really love the name,” Torline said.
Its name attracts interest, but the bakery’s focus on scratch-made “comfort food” desserts keeps customers returning. The product line includes cakes, tortes, cheesecakes and pies. The bakery also puts a little humor in naming its signature products, with specialties like Baby Cakes, Stud Muffins and Girlfriend Cakes.
Planning for a target female customer base, Torline says she is pleasantly surprised by the number men who come in excited about the bakery. “We already have regulars. Our ‘snicker doodle guy’ comes in every day.”
Bakery market research, a thorough business plan and solid advice from fellow bakery professionals helped get 3 Women and an Oven off to its positive start.
“The best advice we received was to make sure we had enough refrigeration and freezer space,” Torline added.