PHONE NUMBER: 541-738-6338
OWNER: Cheryl L. Hase
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 4
WHAT SHE SELLS: Cupcakes, cakes, scones, biscotti and cookies
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: LadyC’s goodies are affordable and delicious
You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but at the South Corvallis home of LadyC’s, there are goodies baking much of the time. And not just one or two, but dozens of cupcakes or cookies, and cakes decorated for the season or for special events. Cheryl Hase’s home looks pretty much like many others. But that belies the nature of its interior, where LadyC’s CakePan creates some of the best quality, most affordable goodies made to order. Warning: It’s hard to fend off the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!
Cheryl, when and why did you decide to start your business? I’ve been baking since my grandmother taught me how. But I wasn’t decorating cakes until I took classes at Michael’s Arts and Crafts Store in Corvallis. From there, I went on to learn more and eventually started instructing cake decorating at Michael’s and at the Benton Center of LBCC. My husband and I had talked in the past about starting a cupcake business, so we developed a business proposal. After a while, I went back to school – business school. We had to do a business proposal, and I thought “Well, I already have a proposal!” My project teammates thought it was a good idea, so we went with it. After that, everything just sort of came together.
Tell us more about your products and services. What are your specialties? I bake cupcakes, cakes, and cookies, and I can also teach how to decorate them. You are welcome to call me for direction on a cake project you are doing or if you are unable to find the right supplies or tools needed. I don’t have a specialty, but people do like my red velvet cupcakes, which are called Rose Red, and gluten-free Almond Wows.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? This was never a business that I thought I would have gotten into. But then to be written up for the Business of the Week is great! It’s enough doing the baking, just to see a little one’s eyes light up or the smile that comes from an OSU student who is at school for their birthday. But to have someone recognize what you enjoy doing and write about it is important.
Do you fill an unusual niche? Why should folks patronize your business? I enjoy helping people who can and maybe can’t afford a big wedding or birthday cake. I like trying to find a way to offer everyone something that’s within their budget that looks good and tastes great. I also deliver free here in town, to OSU, and some of the surrounding areas.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? When I first started, there weren’t many who could take you and direct you to all the things and places you needed to go and needed to know about starting your own business. We eventually got through it, but it would have been nice if there had been a little more local business assistance. I did go through a small business program set up with Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services and LBCC. That gave me the names of a few local business owners that I have gone to. They all have been very helpful. I continue to watch and listen to many of the local businesses to try and learn as much as I can to move my business forward.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis, and what does the future look like for the local independents? I love to see independent businesses thrive; there are times I don’t know how they do it. I do okay, but mine is a home-based business and not a brick and mortar business. In Corvallis you see lots of stores open and close, and I wonder just what happened that kept them from succeeding. I think for local independents, you have to find that niche.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you, makes you keep changing and improving? What I enjoy the most is that it is my business. I own it, and whether I pass or fail, it’s all on me. I get excited every time the phone rings for an order, of course. My family inspires me when they want this cake or those cupcakes. Repeat customers who keep coming back for their favorite flavors do the trick.
How important is sustainability to you or your business? We recycle all we can. I use unbleached wrappers on the cupcakes as much as possible, and I recycle all paper goods for the cakes and cupcakes. I buy my baking supplies locally as much as I can.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. I’m friendly and my cakes and cupcakes are tasty; my goal is to provide the best quality goodies – classic, fresh, affordable and delicious.
(Interview and article by Ron Garnett – July 8, 2014)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).