A Milwaukee woman with a flair for cake decorating is opening a bakery in West Allis.
Piece of Love will be at 6768 W. Lincoln Ave., in the old “Treasure Pickers” building.
The cakery and gift shop will specialize in decorating personalized cakes and arrangements for special occasions.
Owner Ana Gonzalez, who’s been running the business out of her home, is hoping to open the shop by the first week in February.
Adding another layer
Interestingly, the cake decorating part of things was a late addition to Piece of Love’s offerings.
Gonzalez said she’d been concentrating on selling floral arrangements and chocolate-covered strawberries when her sister asked her to make and decorate a cake for her son’s — Gonzalez’s nephew —18th birthday.
Gonzalez, who baked cookies and cakes as a kid, decided to take on the challenge. And the decorating part took a while.
“It was like the first time I actually did something more professional in terms of the decoration,” she said. “It took me, I think it was like five hours, but I enjoyed it and it didn’t feel like five hours.”
The creation was such a hit, her family and friends convinced her to add cake decorating to her line of products. She did, and now it’s a key part of her business.
The same decoration that took her five hours now takes her 15 to 20 minutes, she said.
How it works
Normally, Gonzalez said customers will send her a picture of the cake they’d like, usually one seen on Pinterest, Instagram or elsewhere.
Gonzalez recreates the cake, adding personalized toppers with the recipient’s name and age, oftentimes changing the scheme to the person’s favorite colors.
Customers can choose what cake flavor they’d like, picking from traditional vanilla, classic chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, red velvet or marble.
Edible, natural or artificial flowers can be added; so can figurines. Balloons or other personalized cake toppers are also options.
Prices for round cakes start at $25 for an 8-inch cake. A ⅛ sheet cake starts at $25, with a full sheet (serves 80) starting at $157.
Costs can vary by cake design, fondant, fillings, decoration, special add-ons or toppers.
Hoping to grow
Gonzalez said she’ll be the sole employee to start, but is hoping to grow her business and eventually bring on help.
When she does, she said it’s important to foster a positive work culture, a philosophy she latched onto when she worked as a training leader for Panda Express.
“I really hope for this to grow and for me to be able to not only hire people, but train them at a personal level so that they can grow, so they can achieve their dreams,” she said. “That’s what really keeps me going.”
The West Allis Common Council approved a special use permit for the business Jan. 5.
Outside, a new sign was scheduled to be installed this week.
Inside, Gonzalez said the space is being remodeled, adding walls to make the kitchen, completing plumbing work, and adding wiring to run the convection ovens.
The shop will be open seven days a week. Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.