With fewer than a thousand people living in Castor, demand for specialty cakes and cupcakes in the east-Central Alberta town might seem limited.
Yet Eva Wylie and her fiancé Cody Borek have been churning out eye-popping baked goods in their 3,000-square-foot shop on Main Street for nearly a year and a half.
Operating as Today’s Sweet Cakery, the couple first focused on local sweet-toothers and then extended their market by delivering to surrounding communities.
“We realized right away that serving specialty coffees and cupcakes only, without food, we were going to have a really tough go of it,” said Borek, 22.
Their delivery range now stretches as far as Edmonton and Calgary, and they’ve also shipped cakes and cupcakes to places like Vancouver and Winnipeg.
An active Facebook page with photos of 21-year-old Wylie’s kitchen creations has helped boost sales.
“It’s been amazing, the social media,” said Borek.
“Some of our cakes have been seen by over a million people. They’re just shared and shared and shared.
“We ended up getting 1,600 likes in one week. It was incredible.”
In September, Today’s Sweet Cakery also hit the road with a 12-foot cupcake trailer. A Facebook request for suggested destinations in 2014 generated more than 350 replies, said Borek.
“It looks like we’re going to have over 200 locations.”
That’s prompted the partners to consider expanding their fleet.
“The food truck craze is huge, but there are very few with deserts,” observed Borek.
In fact, he and Wylie have aspirations to grow Today’s Sweet Cakery’s territory across North America. And they’re seeking some high-profile help to assist them.
This Saturday, Borek and Wylie will be in Calgary to audition for a spot on CBC’s Dragons’ Den — a television program in which a panel of investment moguls hear and in some cases partner with Canadian entrepreneurs. Such a connection would help Today’s Sweet Cakery avoid many of the pitfalls that undoubtedly lie ahead, said Borek.
“Having a smart business partner, they’re going to teach us those mistakes before we make them.”
Exposure on national TV wouldn’t hurt the business either, he acknowledged, and it would provide an opportunity to set an example for other young people.
“We want to show that you can do it, even at a young age.”
Borek already has another business a few doors down the street from Today’s Sweet Cakery: a traditional Wing Chun kung fu studio. The two ventures consume most of his waking time.
“It seems like about 12 hours a day to the coffee shop and six hours a day to the studio.”
Wylie, he said, created Today’s Sweet Cakery and provides most of the artistic talent.
“She can look at something and create it.
Wylie’s sisters Melissa and Sarah help, and her parents Richard and Cathy also support the business.
Borek said he’s settled into his role of providing the edible canvasses for his fiancée’s artwork.
“I do just about 90 per cent of the baking now, because she has to do all of the decorating.”