We opened cakelava, our Las Vegas custom cake studio during the week of January 10th, 2016, or, as we more commonly referred to it as, "sometime in Mid-January." The last time we opened cakelava in a new city was in March 2005, almost 11 years earlier, in Hawaii. After a year long hiatus from making cakes, we couldn't wait to open our cake shop in Las Vegas! Unlike many food businesses, we didn't have a Grand Opening or even an official Opening Day. cakelava's actual "Opening Day" became a little joke between Rick and I because we kept getting asked by people when we were opening and we didn't have a definitive date for them. We answered with "when Rick is finished making display cakes" or "when we're done testing flavors". In other words, we would open for business when there was something tangible for customers to see and taste at our shop.
If you are a baker, you know that baking in a dry climate and at higher altitudes is different than baking in say, Hawaii, where we moved from. A place that is hot and humid and higher altitudes are not an issue. It takes a lot of experimenting, and plan to gain at least a few pounds in the process, but don't worry, the stress of opening a business in a new city will likely cause you to lose those few pounds which you just gained. Our new menu for Las Vegas is a combination of our tried and true flavors we offered in Hawaii and a selection of flavors honoring our new home Las Vegas. We are excited about the menu and have had great feedback so far on the new flavors!
"So, how will we know when you're open?" .... We had people ask us if we will have a neon OPEN sign when we Open. We have no neon OPEN sign in front of our shop, or even an "Open" sign. Our doors says "Open by Appointment", so technically, we have the word "Open" in front of our shop. cakelava's new shop opening was more like one day our shades were up, there were display cakes in the window, and we began meeting people at our new studio rather than just talking to them on the phone or by email. To us, being "Open" was just a formality. As far as we were concerned we were already Open. Our business and creative minds were open, we had started taking cake orders, we were excited and ready, and everything was in place! We had been corresponding over email for a number of months with customers prior to opening our doors, and delivered our first cake order in Las Vegas before we officially Opened.
After "Opening" I was quickly reminded how tough it was to establish a new business in a new city. In Hawaii we were there for 10 years, we were a known business with a reputation, and here we were starting from scratch all over again. With every new inquiry, I had to pull up a map of Las Vegas and see where the heck we would be delivering to - it was all new and there is so much to learn! We had requests to go to California to deliver cakes. It's been over a decade since we had to drive more than an hour and a half for a delivery. We are learning fast here! We've already made our first delivery to the The Strip at night, and for the uninitiated, the traffic can be quite the adventure, though so far, not nearly as bad as delivering a cake to the North Shore during a surfing competition. You haven't experienced fun until you've done that! So far, we are enjoying doing business in Las Vegas. We've met so many kind people, many of whom have taken us under their wing, acting as mentors, and showing us the ins and outs, and the ups and downs of Vegas. We're also learning why Las Vegas is called "The Ninth Island" - we are constantly meeting people who are from Hawaii or have some connection to Hawaii, and we love that!
cakelava, after Opening.
Now that our shop is Open and we've begun meeting with new clients and have some cake deliveries under our belt, we are starting to love working in Las Vegas! A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in our journey and efforts! We're excited to see what adventures await us and look forward to sharing them with you as they happen! Stay tuned! ...