Langley Times: Tracycakes
By Andrew Bucholtz – Langley Times
August 16, 2008 12:00 PM
Fort Langley proved to be a great launching pad for Tracy Dueck’s business. Dueck opened her first Tracycakes bakery/cafe in Fort Langley’s historic Marr House back in September 2006. The business quickly became popular, allowing her to open a second outlet on Abbotsford’s Montrose Avenue earlier this year.
Dueck told The Times that she decided to expand because the Fort Langley location couldn’t supply the demand for her cupcakes.
“We just had a real need for more room,” she said. “We just weren’t keeping up with the volume we needed.”
Dueck said that she chose Abbotsford for her second outlet because she had previously considered setting up shop there.
“I had first looked at Abbotsford before I came to Fort Langley,” she said. “The downtown’s becoming a really neat location and I wanted to get in on that.”
Dueck said she looked at various locations in Abbotsford last October, then signed a lease in December and opened the second outlet in February. She said the new location has been a tremendous success so far.
“Abbotsfordians, they love their baking,” she said. “For about three months, it’s been about three times the volume [of sales, as compared to the Fort Langley store].”
Dueck said the second outlet, with its larger commercial kitchen, has allowed her to streamline her cooking process. All of the cupcakes are now made in Abbotsford.
“We bake them in Abbotsford and transport them to Fort Langley fresh every day,” she said.
Dueck’s bakeries and cafes offer more than just cupcakes, though: they also have an extensive dine-in menu, featuring quiche, shepherd’s pie, homemade borscht and chili, among many other items. Some of the items are made in Langley, while some are made in Abbotsford. Dueck said the greatest benefit of her second location is the ability to streamline production of each of the items her cafes offer.
“Having the new kitchen is the best thing,” she said.
Dueck said the Abbotsford clientele is more focused strictly on cupcakes, while the Fort Langley clientele prefers a fuller dine-in experience.
“For now, Abbotsford is pretty large on the cupcakes,” she said. “Fort Langley is larger on the lunch.”
Dueck said her Abbotsford outlet’s sales are about 50 per cent cupcakes and 50 per cent full meals, while only 30 per cent of her Fort Langley outlet’s sales are from cupcakes alone. She said that the historic building her Fort Langley store is in also helps to draw in the eat-in customers.
“It’s quite quaint,” she said. “It’s quite lovely.”
Tracycakes also offers a “High Tea,” which features specialty loose-leaf teas, sausage rolls, fresh fruit, lemon curd and Devonshire cream, among other fancy offerings. Dueck said it’s been more successful in Langley than Abbotsford so far, though.
“It’s quite a nice presentation,” she said. “If I could expand one thing, I’d like to get more people to High Tea in Abbotsford.”
In addition to their in-store business, Tracycakes also caters for weddings and events. Dueck said they were especially swamped with the rash of weddings on Aug. 8, due to the perceived good luck of marriages on 08/08/08.
“We must have made 3,000 cupcakes,” she said. “That was really crazy.”
Tracycakes offers 35 different cupcake varieties. Dueck said four of the most popular are “Lovely Bunch of Coconut,” “La-La Lemon,” “German Chocolate,” and “Boston Cream.”
Dueck said the biggest challenge associated with the expansion to a second facility was training the new staff. She now has 24 employees over the two locations.
“The hardest thing was teaching staff how to do what you want, how to learn the system,” she said.
Dueck said her staff members have proved adaptable, though.
“I have such fabulous staff,” she said. “You’re only as good as your staff.”
Dueck said another difficult task has been trying to co-ordinate both outlets’ activities.
“I need another one of me,” she said.
Despite the challenges, Dueck said she’s very happy she made the decision to open a second location.
“Oh yes, oh yes, I love it.”