Bakers defy a down economy, hope for sweet success


POSTED: Sunday, March 28, 2010

Expanding in a down economy may prove a sweet move for Cake Creations Dessert Haven in Manoa.

Owners Lori Tamashiro and Lani Sonan are moving from their non-street frontage quarters in Manoa Square into a larger space right up front, so they can expand their business by opening a retail operation.

The pair has been in the business for 15 years, custom-baking cakes and other confections for weddings and other special events.

Yes, red velvet cake is among their most popular offerings.

Tamashiro and Sonan can also do “;weird shapes ... sculpted stuff,”; Tamashiro said, a la “;Ace of Cakes”; (as seen on Food Network).

They also teach cake decorating classes year-round and those classes will continue in the new and larger space.

Students rave about how much fun classes are on Cake Creations' Facebook fan page.

The partners had been looking to increase square footage for their expansion plan, but “;didn't expect it to be right in front,”; Tamashiro said. The former doctor's office space became available and they like being in the Manoa area, so they snapped it up.

The expanded Cake Creations Dessert Haven will offer ready-to-eat baked goods and seating to eat 'em, as well as specialty cake supplies including high-quality shortening and fondant. On their mainland buying trips, Sonan and Tamashiro find boutique-type products not easily found at large chain stores, nor at craft stores that also sell baking and cake decorating specialty products. The shop will sell those hard-to-find items.

The business first opened on Iolani Street in Makiki in tiny second-floor space, where the partners would meet with clients ordering cakes. There, they would offer customers samples of different flavor combinations to help with the decision-making process—or perhaps make it more difficult.

The space was small, hence the eventual move to Manoa.

No earthly, physical square footage may be large enough to contain the company's fan base, judging from an online search. The partners are actively engaged with Facebook users on the Cake Creations fan page, which also features many pictures of almost too-pretty-to-eat cakes.

The expansion of Cake Creations Dessert Haven will be marked with a blessing, lion dance and all-around grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11.