What’s the difference between cake and bundt cake? For some, it may just be the gaping hole in the middle. For bakers and foodies, they might know that bundt cake pans are designed to bake all sides evenly. For husband and wife team Scott and Christine Vogel, bundt cakes are the vehicle that made their entrepreneurial dreams come true.
In early 2017, the duo brought the first Nothing Bundt Cakes branch to Michigan, right here in Grand Rapids. As the name implies, all they do is bundt cakes. “We do one thing and one thing extraordinarily well,” said Scott.
Nothing Bundt Cakes aims for perfection in their craft. Each cake is handmade with premium ingredients, including fresh eggs, real butter, and their signature cream cheese frosting.
Flavors include: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Classic Vanilla, Red Velvet, White Chocolate Raspberry, Carrot, Lemon, Marble, Pecan Praline, and Cinnamon Swirl. They also have a featured flavor that changes every month or two. This fall’s feature flavor is Pumpkin Spice. All bundts are available in larger 8 and 10-inch sizes, single serving “Bundtlets”, and bite-size “Bundtinis.”
The Grand Rapids Chamber had the chance to sample them – and we can honestly say that these guys take the cake. Or should we say take the bundt?
THEY LIKE BIG BUNDTS AND THEY CANNOT LIE.
Founded in Las Vegas 1997 by lifelong friends Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz, the Grand Rapids branch will be the franchise’s 200th location. “We wanted to grow deeper roots here in Grand Rapids,” said Scott. “What’s really exciting is that West Michigan got to go first and that Grand Rapids is the starting point for Nothing Bundt Cakes in the Mitten State.”
INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT & CHRISTINE VOGEL
Out of all the places you could open “Nothing Bundt Cakes,” why Grand Rapids?
Scott: We like to think Grand Rapids is one of the best places on Earth. We’ve lived in multiple cities across the country and have had the benefit of living abroad as well. When we arrived here, after Bissell Inc. recruited me, the both of us looked at each other and said, “This is our forever home.” There’s so much going on within the community. It’s green, growing, and thriving. There are so many sectors that are advancing. Couple that with the great people here and this is the perfect place to open a business.
What’s so special about the cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes?
Scott: It’s definitely the sweetest franchise we’ve worked with! [laughs] But the biggest thing for us is that we make everything by hand here. There’s no automation and we love the personal touch of it. We also love the business model. We always hope for love at first bite – that’s why we’re always giving samples. When you try the cake, you’ll start to see why it’s so special.
Although Christine is a talented baker and even studied baking and pastry making at the Illinois Institute of Art, she is not a cake person. Until Nothing Bundt Cakes. “That’s just how good this cake is!” she said.
What’s the most satisfying part of running and operating Nothing Bundt Cakes?
Scott: The biggest thing is that no matter how challenging a day is, there’s always something positive about it. We always joke that we may have all our money tied up in this business, but we sure as heck have a lot of cake! Because of that, we’re able to do awesome things like supporting all these amazing non-profits in the area, like Kids’ Food Basket, Gilda’s Club, and Spectrum Health Foundation. Whether it’s giving back, seeing the first time someone’s tried our cakes, or when we surprise someone by dropping a cake off at their office, there’s a lot of excitement and positive feelings towards cake. It’s hard not to feel good about it.
What are the biggest challenges?
Scott: The challenge is making sure your team is happy and performing well as well as taking care of the guests. We always say, “You never wanna mess up Johnny’s birthday!” People entrust their most special occasions to us, but we’re human, and we do make mistakes. We always try to rise above those mistakes as a team and maintain a good relationship with our guests.
What’s it like working with your spouse so closely?
Christine: The good thing is I’m only here part time! [laughs]
Scott: We always say that we’ve moved cross country several times, we have three awesome children – so why not pressure test the marriage a little more and start a business together? [laughs] We’ve learned a lot about each other. We’ve had to figure out roles and responsibilities and how we work well together. Our goal is to support our employees and guests as a good team and not one of those crazy husband-wife teams. I think we’ve found a really good even ground, but we’re learning every day!
Why did you join the Chamber and how has it helped you so far?
Christine: We joined because we’re a new business. We wanted to meet people in the area, network, and get help spreading our name out there.
Scott: Joining the Chamber was actually one of the first things we did. It’s been one of those invaluable resources that we signed up for not knowing what the benefit was, but we’ve been really surprised in a positive way of how supportive it has been. It goes beyond the ribbon cutting. The Chamber helped us with connection points, mentorship and even rules and regulation questions. We’ve been able to engage our team and network with others. It really helped propel our business forward. We’re new business owners, and we want to be fully adopted by West Michigan. We plan to be lifetime Chamber members. We’re smitten for the mitten, and we’re here to stay!