THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
29th November, 2018 0
“If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.”
- Elon Musk, Co-Founder of PayPal and Tesla, Inc.
One of the more successful, exciting, and sumptuous new business entities operating out of the SVRC Marketplace in Downtown Saginaw is Rebecca’s Gourmet Bakery, which features a mouth-watering assortment of homemade pies, cakes, and cheesecake that literally melts in your mouth with flavor and nourishment from each delectable bite.
The creations of baker and proprietor Rebecca Clifford raise the bar considerably in terms of quality and presentation, and the story of how she gave birth to her satisfying creations is the stuff that dreams are made of.
The genesis of Rebecca’s journey began nearly 20 years ago back in 1999. “I was engaged in work that paid really well, but reached a point where I decided that I wanted to get up every day and do something I truly loved, which turned out to be baking,” she explains.
“I’m a born baker,” states Rebecca, “and believe it’s a God given gift like being a writer or singer. I was the youngest in my family and around the age of six or seven my Dad asked me to do all the baking for the family, because he realized my talent right away. I never considered doing it for living until the age of 37 when I started asking what’s my true passion.”
“I made pretty great bread from scratch when raising my kids and knew the people that owned Papa Joes, which is a large gourmet market house in Oakland county, so decided to start with bread,” she recalls.
“They also thought it was pretty great bread, so my next stop was a meat market in downtown Rochester, who also agreed to carry it - but they also said what would really sell well was cookies, so I went back the next day with a batch of cookies and they thought my cookies were better than my bread, which is how it all started for me. Before I knew it I was doing 300-cookie promotions at Papa Joe’s that sold right away and had secured my first big account.”
For the first sixteen years Rebecca’s passion for baking evolved into a very large batch production gourmet bakery; and within four years she started supplying cookies for Northwestern Airlines first class flyers. “Eventually everything flying out of Detroit Metro Airport first class had my cookies, plus I supplied 140 stores for the Seven-Eleven market in Southeastern Michigan and at times was producing 10,000 gourmet cookies per day. We always kept distribution looped in-house and did everything in-house from production manufacturing to marketing, which I’ve also had an in-born gift for,” she continues.
For the next 16 years Rebecca ran her own production facility that featured three delivery trucks that would drive 1000 miles each week to distribute her product. But now, with her new kiosk at the SVRC Marketplace, Rebecca considers this latest venture her retirement plan.
“I’m definitely down-sizing now and going into my fourth year of configuring this,” she relates. “I had a 2000 sq. foot mass production facility and made the decision to retire from commercial baking because I knew my Dad was coming to his last few years of life and I was working 70 to 90 hours a week so needed to rearrange my priorities and make myself available to my father for the last two years. It’s been a very good decision and is still lucrative, but more relaxing and fun.”
“I truly enjoy interaction with the clientele, which is one of my favorite parts of this business; and I still love baking,” she notes. “I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I don’t enjoy baking. Plus, the Market atmosphere here is a different animal, filled with so much positive energy of entrepreneurs coming together on a smaller level. I enjoy the whole process, which is unexpected and special for me. I live in Clarkston and drive up to Saginaw each day and had no idea this would be such a heartfelt, touching, and meaningful experience, being part of the revitalization of Downtown Saginaw. It’s been beautiful to see and I’ve had customers come up to me with tears in their eyes telling my how much it means to them to see this new benchmark entity thriving in their community again.”
The main product items that Rebecca’s Gourmet Bakery concentrates upon are pies, cakes, and cheesecakes. “I’ve made millions of cookies over the years and could expand it, but I prefer focusing upon these other directions,” she explains. “Our pies and cheesecakes are very popular and the newest product I’ve offered, which is our Hummingbird cake has been selling out every day. Plus our key-lime pie is another popular item.”
When asked what she feels distinguishes her baked goods from those of her competitors, Rebecca says the answer is easy. “I understood a long time ago if you do an incredible made from scratch hand-produced product and don’t cut any corners on ingredients, production, or presentation; and then marry that with excellent customer service, you’ll have a winning combination,” she relates.
“There are ways to cut corners and all the large box stores do cut those corners, but their product tastes very different from mine,” she continues. “What I offer is a green bakery with no preservatives or dyes in any of my ingredients, which are all organic. I have a couple long-term friends with a farm that supply all our strawberries or rhubarb; and everything is hand cut, which translates in the quality and flavor of the product. Our crust doesn’t taste like chemicals and that’s the secret. I’m still making my pies and cakes in the kitchen as I would for my children and husband and have never changed that approach, no matter the volume.”
When asked if she also produces wedding and birthday cakes, Rebecca notes that many customers will purchase cakes and have them decorated; but that she personally is not fond of decorating cakes. “I’ve done it for my children, but it’s not something I would enjoy doing for a living.”
“I am extremely pleased since I’ve opened my business here in the Marketplace and am on the 20-year- end of being in business,” she concludes. “I’m very happy with the way everything has gone, am doing extremely well financially, and am building a regular customer base as I come up to the 6-month mark of being here at the end of the year. We’ve had a great summer and received a ton of orders for Thanksgiving and I believe Christmas will be the same.”
“I’m delighted on all levels with the way this venture has been received.”
Rebecca’s Gourmet Bakery is located at the SVRC Marketplace at 203 N. Washington in Downtown Saginaw. You can reach Rebecca at 248-462-1320 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check her out on Facebook at Rebecca’s Gourmet Bakery.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)