April and James Forbes can take a bad situation and make it good. They can also make a wide variety of pastries and cakes. Together, the Waterford couple are planning to open (6585 Commerce Rd., West Bloomfield, in the former location of Marty's Cookies and Bagels) on Monday, April 2.
James Forbes worked for 26 years as a corporate restaurant manager before losing his job in the midst of the recession. At the same time, April Forbes was building on an education in Oakland Community College's pastry arts program by working from home and selling at Dixieland Flea Market, while building up a steady clientele of fans who couldn't get enough of her specialties, including peach cake.
April took some time this week to give us the scoop on the new neighborhood bakery in town.
1. What have you and your business partners done?
We've always had the desire to be entrepreneurs. I took what I was best at and my husband took what he was best at and this is where we're at now. We've grown from selling cupcakes at the Dixieland Flea Market to moving to the Oakland County Farmer's Market to basically turning our basement at home into a full-scale kitchen and we're thrilled to have a storefront where we hope to provide pastries, cakes, and everything else that we have to offer for the neighborhood.
2. What are your goals for your business?
Our vision is for the Cakeria to be known throughout the community. We both believe very strongly in customer service and community involvement. The Cakeria won't only be known for the neighborhood bakery type atmosphere — people can walk in, come, and sit down — it'll also be known for community service. We already work a lot of fairs, festivals, and farmer's markets and we think this is just like an extension of that.
3. Who does what in your business?
My husband's role in the business — we joke around and we say he's the numbers guy, but actually, he was the one who got the Cakeria off the ground. He had lost his job, and it was the perfect opportunity to us to move forward and devote more time to the business. My specialty has always been pastries — that's what I went to college to do and I've worked in different environments before opening my business from home a few years ago.
4. How can this help people?
We believe, a lot, in using local produce. That's mainly why we change our menu, because I do a lot of shopping at the local farmer's market, where we're also vendors. We've developed a rapport there with some of the farmers, where we exchange treats for produce. When it comes to the store, we want to be the neighborhood bakery of this particular area — a warm, inviting place to have some goodies and see your neighbors.
5. How can people help you?
We'd love to see everyone at our grand opening Monday — we'll be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which is a little later than most bakeries. For the grand opening menu, people can expect to see some of the pastime favorites, like a banana cake with a honey-vanilla Bavarian filling using local honey and our peach cake, which was featured in The Detroit News.