It’s no small achievement that Gwendolyn Rogers correctly predicted that Hoosiers would pay a pretty penny for high-end baked goods in an environment right out of “Cinderella.”
In 2014, she opened The Cake Bake Shop in Broad Ripple with the help of a $325,000 small business loan, transforming a free-standing home on the north side of the village into a kind of confectioner’s paradise, populated with sparking accents and a cozy but high-end aesthetic. It offered regular table service, topped off with towering and indulgent cakes—including the deluxe chocolate cake she used to win the London Cake & Bake Show in 2013.
In 2019, she opened a second Cake Bake Shop in Carmel with the help of a $1.2 million loan. And in April of this year, she announced that a longtime dream of hers had come true: The Walt Disney World Resort revealed that a Cake Bake Shop would open next year at Disney’s BoardWalk.
But there’s a lot more to the Cake Bake story than the new location. Rogers has put a lot on the line over the last eight years to establish and grow the brand, including a hefty financial commitment. She was saved during the pandemic by a relationship with Williams Sonoma that made her cakes available on the high-end retailer’s website. In eight years, she has gone from a single employee to nearly 190.
But as she tells host Mason King in this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, she dreamed of opening in Disney World even before launching the Broad Ripple store.
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Looking for another podcast to try? Check out IBJ’s The Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman, a monthly discussion about diversity and inclusion in central Indiana’s business community.