What is in this article?:
- How 2tarts trades on happiness
- Funky interior
Sisters April Weilbacher and Ashley Landerman focus on producing quality bakery products completely from scratch using basic ingredients, and the citizens of New Braunfels, Texas are responding.
When two sisters decide to name their bakery 2tarts, you know right away that it is going to be a fun place and they are fun-loving gals. The various definitions of “tart” work on different levels for the bakery, and even the less than savory meaning is embraced tongue-in-cheek. April Weilbacher and Ashley Landerman, the sisters and two “tarts” behind the name, sell plenty of the filling-based pastries that also give credence to the bakery’s name. And, as artists, they also like to tart up their products so they are displayed to their best advantage.
The name came about from a friend who suggested they name the new bakery Queen of Tarts to emphasize the sisters’ specialty product. But there were two sisters, so a singular queen didn’t quite fit. Inspiration struck while Ashley was in the car, and 2tarts Bakery and Catering was born.
The fortuitous beginning
Sometimes it seems that certain businesses are just meant to be. April and Ashley started a catering company in January 2009 out of a rented kitchen in Austin, Texas. By 2010, they had moved their business to their hometown of New Braunfels, Texas, and had decided to focus more on the baked products that were generating a lot of attention.
“We grew up as artists and the bakery was kind of a natural path. Baking has a lot more artistic bent to it,” says Ashley, who went to culinary school in Ireland. “Cooking is kind of creative, and I had to have a job I could be creative in. But baking fit when it comes to fine arts with drawing and color theory.”
They began looking around town and noticed that there wasn’t a scratch bakery. Restaurants abound and the town is even home to the oldest bakery in Texas, but it doesn’t do scratch production. “I was someone who loved to go to bakeries, but there was no really good scratch bakery,” Ashley says.
The two tarts, from left: April Weilbacher and Ashley Landerman
New Braunfels is ideally situated 45 minutes from Austin and 30 minutes from San Antonio and long has been the playground for San Antonio residents. They scouted the area for a location that would be perfect for their bakery, and found it in downtown New Braunfels, which was just at the beginning of a revitalization. Pockets of New Braunfels had always been touristy, but downtown had pulled from a more local customer base. The town’s goal was to make downtown as touristy as the other areas.
The only problem the sisters had with the perfect location: they had no money to turn the space into a bakery.
Preparations pay off
While working a farmers’ market, the sisters were approached by an angel investor who was interested in backing their venture. Click on the image at left to view 2Tarts at a glance.
“It just kind of fell into our laps,” Ashley says. It was fate. “I feel like we opened this place a little too fast, but we had to do what we had to do. It was one of the moments where you had to seize it or it would be gone,” she adds.
While the pace was fast, only two months from signing the lease to opening day, the sisters had done their homework. They had a 35-page business plan and went often to the local Center of Entrepreneurship. The catering business had helped them identify their target market and customer demographics. The sisters also worked with a graphic designer, even before finding the location, to help create and refine their bakery logo and brand identity. “We wanted to keep the message the same, and keep hold of the brand, everything down to our business cards,” April says. “The photos on display on the walls match our business cards.”
The 2tarts website was up and running before the bricks and mortar store, and it to had to reflect the image the sisters were trying to portray. “For awhile our website was our storefront, and it is often the first way people meet you. That first impression is key,” Ashley says. “I’m super picky about the photos that are put up. It has to be a perfect photo of a perfect cake. It’s all about the delivery. We just wanted to be good and professional.”