Our History: The Magic of Cakes
While the story, or should we say saga, of this company is still being written this will give the reader a glimpse into the building of an idea into a thriving growing entity.
Back in 1983 after leaving a successful career in Higher Education, Steve Jacobs decided a change was needed in his life. The business climate had changed significantly. He decided to be proactive and go into business for himself.
Looking back on his earlier experiences working in restaurants, he decided to look into the food industry. Little did he realize that this job search would unfold into an adventure into the word of baking rather than cooking.
Steve initially started a home food service business selling meats and seafood items. Each new customer received a free coffee cake or unusually large orders were rewarded with a coffee cake as a thank you.
Soon customers were calling back to ask for another delicious cake. When asked what else could be added to the order, the reply was often heard, “Just the cake for now.” This gave Steve another idea to try and establish a daytime business where he could sell the cakes to retail accounts and make his food deliveries at night.
He quickly built a devoted following of avid consumers of his signature Sour Cream and Cinnamon Coffee Cake. Both businesses continued for another year. But, with the cake sales taking more and more time and generating more revenue it soon became evident that the cakes required a full time commitment.
After developing formulas and testing in their home kitchen, it was time to take things to the next level. Steve began to explore hiring a contract baking company to produce his line of cakes, which had grown to five varieties. This lasted for a short period of time until the contract bakery closed.
Steve now had no bakery, pans, and equipment. He scrambled to find a place to bake. The following day, Sunday, he found a bakery that is normally closed on Sundays open. The owner happened to be in and after speaking briefly with him, came to an agreement. Steve rented this bakery on Sundays to bake his own cakes.
This became the start of an odyssey of using other people’s bakeries for several years and earned the nickname of “The Gypsy Baking Company.”
Each baking day Steve would arrive with all of the necessary ingredients, pans, and any packaging for the cakes that had to be baked that week. He would travel with a part time baking staff and setup shop using different bakeries as far away as 50 miles. This experience as a traveling baker afforded Steve a lot of experience in a short amount of time. He utilized every kind of baking equipment under every kind of circumstance.
After several years of working these long hours under difficult conditions it was time to find a location to call home. After an exhaustive search for a bakery site, a building became available right down the street from home. It had been a former department store, which was sold at an auction.
Steve jumped at the opportunity and leased 3,000 square feet. Over several months using local contractors the full service production bakery became a reality. This became the permanent location of The Boston Tea Cake Company, Ltd. in 1999.