Company: Amycakes LLC
Education: Bachelor’s in arts administration, Drury University
Custom cakes: With an emphasis on special-order cakes, Amy McGehee says one of the most unusual cakes she’s done was a sculpted replica of the Alamo, for a history-buff groom.
You opened Amycakes in 2009 in downtown Springfield. How did you get into the baking business?
It’s always been kind of a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I’ve been baking my whole life.
After I graduated from Drury in 2008, I was working a lot as a server in two different restaurants. I started baking out of Finnegan’s Wake and South Avenue Pizza, so that’s when I actually got my business license and got started. Then, I started training with Barb Baker, who owned The Bake House, because I found out she was retiring, and my parents and I decided we wanted to open a family business. I’ve got one full-time and one part-time employee, and me.
What products do you offer?
We do cakes, cupcakes, pies, cookies and cinnamon rolls. … Everything we do is made from scratch. A lot of the recipes are my grandmother’s, and they taste like something Grandma would make. We make a lot of homemade fillings, like fruit compote fillings.
Why did you decide to end walk-in retail sales at the bakery in January?
It was just a personal business decision, because we wanted to be able to have more time to focus on our specialty items. We’re able to do more deliveries out of town to Branson that we wouldn’t have been able to do before, and we’re able to do more seasonal stuff.
How have recent openings of several bakeries – and specifically, cupcake shops – affected your business?
Well, our primary focus is decorated cakes and custom orders, so I haven’t noticed a whole lot of effect on us because (of) our focus.
There are a lot of new cupcake places coming up, and I think that’s great. … We still do a lot of cupcakes. We just do them with a day’s notice in quantities of six or more.
In January, the Midwest Consumer Price Index edged upward, with food prices increasing 0.8 percent. How do food costs affect your business?
Every year, we look and see how much things have gone up. On eggs and sugar, if we look back to 2009 when we opened, they have gone up quite a bit. We (sometimes) have to go up a little bit on our prices, but we try not to do it too much. We had to go up just a little bit on cupcakes in January – to $24 a dozen – but that was the only thing that increased.
Do you have any business-to-business sales to supply baked goods to local restaurants?
The only one right now is the Coffee Ethic, selling our cinnamon rolls. They do them individually and have a limited quantity (and) finish baking them there so they come out hot and fresh every morning.
Have you taken advantage of daily deal sites such as Groupon? And how do you reach potential customers?
No. Because we’re so small, it’s just not going to work for us right now. We do a lot of social networking sites, and try to post on Facebook or Twitter regularly. We do a trade with KSMU in the morning, so we’ve got a little spot on there. (But) most of it’s just word-of-mouth and social networking sites.
Would you like to expand your staff and shop?
Right now, I like being small. I like having control over what goes out and knowing that our quality is always going to be the best it can be. So I don’t know if I would want to expand, but we’ll see. Right now, it’s me baking and decorating everything.
Your bakery walls are decorated with thank you notes from customers and community groups. Do you donate a lot of baked goods to area organizations?
Yes. We do one big donation a month to a nonprofit on a first-come, first-serve basis, and it’s always something that we bake here, either a gift basket or cupcakes or something. We also donate a cake weekly to Harmony House. We used to (give) our leftovers on Saturdays … all of the stuff in our case, but now that we don’t have the (retail case), we’re just doing a weekly cake for them.