A well-established Cincinnati bakery chain is shaking up its cake line and inspiring local enthusiasm for extravagant celebration cakes.
After 78 years of making wedding cakes, Busken Bakery made the difficult and emotional decision to give up its wedding cake line. “We saw wedding cakes becoming very niche,” said Brian Busken, marketing manager. “There are small boutiques that do that, and they do a good job. We felt our strength was celebration cakes and birthday cakes.”
To showcase its celebration cakes, Busken Bakery opened Cake Town as an extension of its flagship Hyde Park location. To best leverage this potential, the Busken family came up with a concept that’s sounds like it belongs in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The 300-sq.-ft. Cake Town is devoted entirely to displaying and demonstrating celebration cakes.
“We created a room geared towards kids with a wall mural, over-sized tiles and a huge display window with all of our cakes,” Busken said. “That’s the direction we feel like the market is going. The trend is that parents are spending more money on kids birthdays, they are getting more extravagant, so this was a natural for us.”
Cake Town’s most popular feature is it’s “mayor” Cami Smith, who demonstrates celebration cake artistry 5 days a week.
“It’s very interactive. Cami answers questions, makes recommendations and really entertains the customers,” Busken said. All the while, Smith is actually making stock cakes to supply the various stores. She’s not just doing demonstrations, she’s being productive while she’s in the spotlight.
The bakery employs 12 full time decorators and produces about 500 to 600 cakes per week, accounting for a third of Busken Bakery’s company-wide production. The Buskens are watching their new extension closely to see if they should expand the Cake Town concept to other stores. After a month in business, the Buskens have noticed that Cake Town brings a positive energy to their Hyde Park location, and they’d like to be able to share the positive and festive feel with their other 20 stores.
“It can get stressful making sure everyone gets their cakes,” Busken said. “But Cake Town has given customers a place to wait and something to do, so it has added a calming effect to the store.”