Life is Sweet
August 18, 2008
LIFE IS SWEET
Businesswoman invites guests to have their cake and eat it too
Written by Joe Millican
When Tracy Dueck lay on her couch at home, considering how she could put her baking skills into practice, there was little to indicate she would eventually be rewarded with a thriving small business and countless new friendships.
Having spent a number of years raising her kids at home, Dueck had no formal culinary training but had always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen as a young girl and later honing those talents cooking for her family.
Four years later, and Dueck has now opened her second Tracycakes Bakery Café on Montrose Avenue in downtown Abbotsford. It follows the opening of the flagship store in Fort Langley 18 months ago.
Sitting in the buzzing dining area of her Abbotsford location, surrounded by cupcakes and other treats, Dueck admits her surprise that all has gone so well.
“But if you are passionate about what you do, I think you can succeed,” she says.
“I just figured I would sell some cupcakes and somebody would come in, but I always felt a voice saying ‘If you built it, they will come’ – kind of like Field of Dreams!” she laughed.
Tracycakes appears to have found its niche – focusing on weddings, schools, showers, parties, and well as the casual pedestrian.
Making between 500 and 1,000 cupcakes a day, Dueck says treats with such bizarre names as Mellycake, 5 O’Clock Somewhere, Ra-Ra Raspberry, Fill-Me-Up Buttercup, 24 Karat Cake and Jessicupcake are all proving popular with shoppers looking for a sugary bite.
And with Abbotsford customers buying approximately three times more cupcakes than in Fort Langley, Dueck is more than happy with her choice of location.
“They like their sweets!” she says.
According to Dueck, there is no science to naming her cupcakes, which she says come in more than 35 varieties.
It will just come to me. Some of them are named after my kids and some are named just because they are fun,” she said.
While specializing in cupcakes, Tracycakes also offers a lunch and dinner menu.
But while much of the focus is on food, Dueck points out that different dishes are just part of the equation.
Not only does she reiterate that she wants her customers to meet together and fully enjoy their eating experience, but she also maintains that same philosophy for her employees.
“If you have happy staff you have happy customers and a better world. I want them to find value here,” she says.
As an extension of that, Dueck says that her employees care strongly for their customers.
As one example, Dueck highlights one couple – married for 50 years – who regularly come into the café. The husband underwent heart surgery, and Dueck said one of her employees went to the hospital to pay him a visit.
Now well-established, Dueck is looking to the future – and has her sights on a third store in either White Rock or Steveston.
“I am just a girl with a dream,” she stresses.
“It’s very risky and if you know me I’m not really a risk taker in my general personality but I have really enjoyed it.” I have learned a little bit about myself – that I can be brave.”