What’s a CPA working as a health-care administrator to do for a second career? Follow his passion. What’s a nurse practitioner to do in her off hours? Dream up cake creations.
Rudy Burns’s passion is to feed people, and his wife, Angi, has a creative side. While living in Arkansas, Rudy attended the Arkansas Culinary School in Little Rock. They consulted with a Small Business Development Center, where they were counseled to stay away from opening a restaurant. But catering – there was the opportunity to follow his passion.
Moving to Fort Collins to follow their dream, they settled on buying an existing business – Babette’s Feast Catering and Bakery. (Yes, it’s named after the movie.)
Three years into the business, they focus on the bakery – meaning custom cakes; catering – weddings and lunches; and wholesale baking – supplying hotels and independent coffee and tea shops with quiches, croissants, sweet breads, and carrot cake and other desserts.
A year after taking over the business, they realized Rudy needed some more advice. As a CPA, he had the finance side of the business down pat. And the cakes, with Angi’s assistance, were hitting a creative sweet spot.
“We needed help,” Rudy says. “We wanted professional advice. We were starting to grow. We had no marketing background, and the business was about to take off.” The business has grown 150 percent. And it’s no longer just the two of them. They have three employees.
Says Angi, “We wanted to make sure we were realistic in our expectations.”
The Larimer Small Business Development Center helped them start down the path by giving objective advice. They met one-on-one with a business consultant, a marketing consultant and a social-media consultant (find Babette’s on Facebook, Pinterest, and the web).
Their business plan includes maintaining the fundamentals that has made Babette’s successful – things like traditional recipes and natural food and flavors – and adding a retail cake shop. Custom cakes are their speciality, but they see a niche in Fort Collins for a walk-in store. And they’re ready with a name: Daddy Cakes Bakery. That would be Rudy.
“So far, it’s been a lot of hard work,” Angi says, “and we will keep working hard to become as successful as we possibly can be.”