Spotlight On Business
Say It With Cake Does Pandemic Pivot, Marks 10 Years
With five kids at home and extremely busy lives, there was never a perfect time for Tim and Heather Garofano to launch their own business.
Heather was for years a lumber trader and bookkeeper, and Tim apprenticed as a pastry chef in a prestigious Edmonton hotel, worked for several bakeries and owned his own bakery in Surrey. He then spent more than 25 years in the forest industry, including as operations manager at Linwood Custom Homes.
“We always wanted our own business . . . and after the economic crash of 2008 and only having one child at home, we pursued our dream,” said Heather.
Now celebrating 10 years with Say It With Cake, an 1,100-square-foot custom cake and cake decorating business at Allwood Professional Centre in Abbotsford, they look back at the support they’ve had through Community Futures South Fraser (CFSF) and SUCCESS self-employment programs and relish their sweet memories.
In the last year Tim and Heather did the pandemic pivot, adding fresh pastries, desserts and chocolate bombs to their menu, temporarily closing their private cookie and cake decorating classes, and maintaining their sales of baking supplies, a cornucopia of items ranging from pans and themed decorating items to baking mitts and colourful baking cups.
Heather quickly created her own e-commerce function on their website, secured Covid emergency funding through CFSF, and continues to stay abreast of business advice, including succession planning through community futures personal and online programming.
Tim and Heather both work six days a week, are closed Sundays and hired Ursula, their one part-time employee who works Thursday to Saturday.
CFSF business support has taught them the value of networking, marketing, branding, digital resources, leadership and fiscal acuteness. “We’ve enjoyed our relationship with Community Futures, they have been so helpful,” said Heather.
Before the pandemic, Say It With Cake was creating 30 cakes a week, many large ones for weddings and big gatherings. Now they create 15 custom cakes a week, many smaller.
Tim and Heather’s favourites are Black Forest and St. Honore (cream puff cake), but their repertoire of cake styles and icing flavours suit a variety of tastes. Their decorating skills dazzle customers with design and brilliant colours. They also offer edible image printing.
“Our customer base is so loyal,” said Heather, explaining some start with a shower cake, then continuing to buy for their wedding, baby shower, and all their children’s birthdays.
A retirement cake in the cards for Tim and Heather? Not yet. Some days they have too much fun.