By Srianthi Perera
Jan Newton wasn’t a “cake person” until she tried a piece of lemon-flavored Nothing Bundt Cake at a party. “I was obsessed, and I kept thinking about it… but that was the greatest cake I’ve ever had,” says Newton, who researched the franchise and subsequently became the owner of the cake store’s newest outlet in the Valley, located in Gilbert.
Nothing Bundt cakes features signature thick frosting petals on bundt cakes that come in 8- or 10-inch sizes, tiered or towered, and in smaller Bundtlets and even smaller Bundtinis. The franchise originated in Las Vegas in 1997, when Debbie Shwetz and Dena Tripp wanted “simply to please their family and friends,” according to its website. Today, there are more than 200 stores across the country.
Newton’s store will primarily serve customers in north Gilbert and Mesa.
The Anthem resident will soon move to a condo in east Mesa, which will be located a few minutes away from it.
Business has been great, Newton says.
Online orders are rolling in and delivery requests are also growing.
“I’m really thrilled people are realizing that we do deliver to areas within our territories,” she says.
Although Newton has a team of 17 staffers, she prefers to deliver the sweet treats herself in her colorful “Bundtmobile.”
“I think it’s important for me to be the face of Nothing Bundt Cakes in the community and for people to know me, that I’m offering the best service that I can and it’s just part of who I am,” she says. The level of personalized service hasn’t been lost on her customers: The store received 100 percent for customer service in a recent survey.
The majority of her shoppers are working women ages 30-60, she noted, although men are increasingly coming in through the doors.
Newton’s two bakers begin work at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. and bake all day long to create the nine flavors and the flavor of the month. April’s was strawberries and cream. She’s noticed that pecan praline flies of the shelves, while gluten-free varieties are requested often as well.
The cake book provides details of how the cakes may be decorated and presented – there are 45 decorations to choose from.
Newton and her store manager, Shawn Strunk – he’s one of the few male managers in the franchise – spent a month undergoing training in Dallas. She described it as intense.
“We started off as dishwashers and we worked every single position in the bakery for a month. It was fantastic, we learned a lot,” she says. “They wanted us to know what it was like to be a dishwasher and to experience their experience.”
Newton graduated in broadcast journalism at the University of Arizona and used to be a radio broadcaster in Salt Lake City. When she took time off to raise Waverly, her daughter who was born in Vietnam, Newton did many things in her spare time, including teaching aerobics, doing voiceovers for commercials and being a media ambassador for Weight Watchers International.
Before she moved back to Arizona, she and her husband, Mark, lived in Seattle, where she ran a craft beer tap room. Mark still works in that city, while Waverly, who has a degree is business and marketing from the University of Arizona, works in San Francisco.
The tap room was thriving, but Newton didn’t want to continue under the dark skies of Seattle for more than two years. She sold it to her business partner and moved to Arizona.
After her business was established, Newton sought ways on how to give back to the community. Barely weeks after opening, she benefited Child Crisis Center of Arizona and has made further plans to help local schools.
Although she misses the energy of broadcast journalism, Newton may not return to her early career. She feels the bakery would be her last call.
“It sounds hokey to say this, but when you take a cake to a person, you get a big grin. It’s really true,” she says. “Our slogan here is ‘we make the world a sweeter place’ and I really believe it.”
Nothing Bundt Cakes
2285 E. Baseline Road, #103, Gilbert
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.