Elé Cake Co., West Carrollton, Ohio, shed a cumbersome company name and opened a 14,600-sq.-ft. commissary to give its sweet shop some much-needed breathing room.
“Honestly, we were probably breaking every fire code imaginable in our old, 4,200-sq.-ft. location. The new bakery has given us room to spread out and the freedom to produce a lot more,” said Becky Lewis, co-owner. “Since we opened the new store in February, our sales have increased by 40 percent.”
Lewis and partner Melody Richey founded A Taste of Elegance Cake Co. as a home business in 1997. In 2000, they moved to a leased space in West Carrollton, and in 2004, they opened a second, retail-only location in nearby Beaver Creek. Lewis and Richey went about rebranding A Taste of Elegance as Elé Cake Co. upon their most recent move.
“We wanted to create a new brand because, ultimately, we'd really like to start shipping special occasion cakes nationwide as our next business move,” Lewis said. “We wanted to create a look that was really ‘now’ and would appeal to anyone nationwide. Our name was so long, we needed something short, singular and identifiable. Elé Cake Co. was what we decided on.”
The new location features retail space, a coffee bar, seating for 35 and a private party room for corporate events or children's parties. Lewis said they appreciate the additional production space the most.
The company moved some of its old equipment and purchased new essentials for the space, including a 36-pan oven, mixer, walk-in freezer, production tables and depositor. “We hand poured everything before, so it [depositor] helps a lot.”
The previous location had room for only one small freezer that couldn't keep up with the constant opening and closing. Now, the freezers allow for increased production.
“That's why sales jumped as soon as we moved. The limited production capacity at the old location meant having to actually turn away business. The customers were always there, it was just a matter of being able to produce enough product for them to buy,” Lewis said. “We have about 80 employees now after adding 20 to 25 new employees since the move.”
Along with finally being able to meet demand, Lewis cited easier parking and leaving behind its former strip mall location as potential factors in the sales spike.