From Left to Right: Becky Wilcox, Marcia Rider, and Char Nichols. Photo by Carol Vogel
by Carol Vogel
Marcia Rider and Char Nichols have been serving up sweet treats and beautiful desserts for ten years at their location on Main Street in Dolgeville, NY. Both from St. Johnsville, the long-time friends are the co-owners of The Cakery Café.
Char and Marcia are excited about celebrating ten years in business and reflected on how it all began. Marcia explains, “We started the business out as a café doing breakfast and lunch with bakery items and special order cakes on the side. We really didn’t know anyone here at all. We got to know the community by having the time to talk with people while waiting on the tables.”
“I have always liked baking and always read a lot of recipes and taught myself through trial and error. Then I started doing some decorating and took some cake decorating classes,” says Marcia. “I like the creative part of it.”
“Char has always been a creative person, and she taught herself how to do all the fondant work,” Marcia adds. Through sharing tips with each other and learning as they go, they have really shown they have a genuine knack for baking and decorating. These ladies are setting the bar high for cakes, cookies, and other desserts that are not only delicious but beautiful!
The Cakery has had to shift the focus of the business to flow with the changing times. “The last two years, we haven’t done the café at all,” Marcia explains. Since their business is based on events and people weren’t doing events during Covid, they had to come up with something new and exciting.
The idea of cookie decorating kits took hold and gave them the boost they needed. Each kit includes cookies and icing so they can be decorated at home. “We did hundreds of cookie decorating kits because kids were home, and it was something fun to do,” Marcia remembers.
Families loved this, as it was a way to bring some fun into a very uncertain time. They were a big hit and became the gateway to the booming sugar cookie portion of the business.
Although The Cakery has had to adjust over the past few years, and they no longer serve breakfast, there are still a few small tables at the front of the shop where you can sit with your coffee and pastry and get to know the owners.
A Team Effort
Marcia and Char are a great team. Marcia mentions how they work to their strengths and split up responsibilities to keep up with the demand. “In the last two years, Char has really taken on the cake decorating part of it because I do all the baking myself.”
The Cakery has a very small staff, and everyone gives their all. When the Cakery first opened, they had one employee, Lynn, who was with them until about three years ago when she retired. Since then, Marcia’s sister, Becky Wilcox, has joined them and helps out with decorating and assisting with other tasks.
They also have a local high school student named Kendall who helps out. Her family are long-time customers, and Kendall was interested in baking. She started by working on special events, and this past summer, she was decorating wedding cupcakes and other orders. “She likes baking, and she is awesome at decorating. She has taught herself too,” Marcia comments.
Marcia’s sister Becky was really struck by the support the shop gets from around the area and beyond. “The community of Dolgeville has really embraced the Cakery, but there are also many special orders from all over. People are willing to travel to get a cool cake!”
“The café was a good stepping stone to start out ten years ago. I don‘t think people would have put their trust into us for their special events without first getting to know us through the café,” says Marcia. Customers come from as far as Rome and Whitesboro to the west and Johnstown and Canajoharie to the east. The word has obviously spread about these talented ladies and their delicious desserts!
Up to the Challenge
When asked about the most challenging cake or project they have been asked to make, Char smiles, “Probably when people send in pictures of things that aren’t cake and want a cake to look like it. But it’s fun to work that out and be creative.”
Marcia agrees, “It’s our customers that really bring us the pictures and say ‘can you do this?’ so they’re the ones who keep challenging us. That’s what we like the best about it. We’re not just going to a job where you do the same thing every day. It has been nice getting to know people and helping to create those memories for them for their special events. We have customers that we have done every single birthday for them for the last ten years in addition to other events.”
One of their most popular bakery items is their Strawberry-Rhubarb filled jelly donuts in the summer. Marcia says, “We have a customer who drives an hour and a half for those! She gets a bunch and delivers to friends near her as well!” Their cheesecakes, pumpkin half-moons, and cupcakes are also fan favorites, and they offer a great variety of on-demand treats in the shop.
Their famous sugar cookies have taken off in a big way and are extremely popular. The options seem endless from the wall of cookie cutters on display. Marcia, who is the chief cookie maker, baker, and decorator, can make any design you want for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or any special event. Their seasonal-themed cookies are available for purchase at the shop throughout the year. “She’ll never have enough cookie cutters!” Char laughs. Marcia giggles and smiles, “I order new ones every week!”
Celebrating their 10th Anniversary with Customer Appreciation Days December 1st -3rd, be sure to stop in for the Hot-Chocolate Bar and free dessert samples on Thursday and Friday with free cookie decorating on Saturday, December 3rd.
There is also lots to look forward to over the holidays and winter months at the Cakery. They will host Cake Decorating Classes for kids where, as Marcia explains, “We have a cake ready, and they decorate the cake to take home.”
Cookie decorating kits will also be available for pickup in the shop throughout the season. They will also offer decorating kits for gingerbread houses and an ‘Ugly Sweater Cookie’ decorating contest for Christmas.
With so many options, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pastries, pies, and donuts, there is something for everyone at the Cakery. We hope this milestone Anniversary will keep them baking in Dolgeville for years to come!
The Cakery is open Wednesday & Thursday, 7 am-3 pm, Friday, 7 am-4 pm, and Saturday, 7 am – 12 pm. You can find out more information on events and amazing photos of customer orders and in-shop treats they offer each week on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CakeryCafellc/.