Bakers and now restaurateurs Megan and Jason Savely of West Richland have been in business only since August, but demand for their gourmet cupcakes and special-occasion cakes already has forced a move into larger quarters.
Their first business, Sweet Beans, an espresso stand where they made and sold their gourmet cupcakes, was on Thayer Drive in Richland. It didn't take long for word to spread about the delicious treats. Soon they were selling out of cupcakes long before closing time.
"We couldn't keep up. We had to expand," Megan said.
Orders for wedding and other special-occasion cakes were adding up too. On April 13, they moved to 710 The Parkway in Richland, renaming their business Frost Me Sweet Bakery & Bistro. It's easy to spot-- just look for the bright turquoise building.
Megan always has enjoyed baking but never considered making it a career. Instead, she worked in a medical office for years.
"But I found I really didn't like the 9 to 5 life. I wanted something different, but what?" she said.
It wasn't until the Savelys, both Richland High School graduates, became engaged and began pricing wedding cakes that she discovered her talent for cake decorating.
"They cost thousands," she said. "I've always loved sculpture, crafts of all kinds, so I said to Jason, 'I can do this.' He said, 'No, it's got to be much harder than it looks.' "
Determined to give it a try, Megan bought fondant, a type of stiff cake icing, and made a cake.
"It wasn't that hard. The fondant works a lot like clay and I use some of the same tools and techniques for cake decorating that I use for sculpting," she said.
That was in 2008. Soon friends were asking her to bake special-occasion cakes of all kinds.
"It snowballed. Baking began to take over our house. One day Jason said, 'You've got to either give up baking or make it a business,' " she said.
That's when they opened the espresso stand, selling drinks and gourmet cupcakes with flavors like salted caramel, lemonade and chai spice for $3 each, $30 for a dozen.
When they moved to The Parkway, Jason traded in his framing hammer for a spatula.
"I'd worked in a restaurant years ago," he said, loading glasses into the dishwasher. "This is a lot easier on my body than construction."
They share the work of baking, cooking and supervising their 13 employees.
They make about three wedding cakes a week, plus other special-occasion cakes. Cupcakes, 18 to 20 dozen, are baked daily from scratch.
The majority of the food they serve either is organic or bought locally. There are several vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, and the pizzas can be made on gluten-free crusts.
"I like to play with food and work with my hands, cooking, baking, running the bistro, I love it," Megan said. "A lot of work and a lot of love go into every cupcake, every plate of food we make."
She said she strives to make every cake she bakes better than the one before.
"If you don't constantly improve, then you've peaked and there's only one way to go from there. I believe we have a long way to go before we peak," she said.