The Enchanted Bakery
418 N. Eddy
Grand Island, NE 68801
Dreamy confections at The Enchanted Bakery
A cake draped in a layer of dark chocolate and topped with chocolate-covered cherries sits next to a cheesecake adorned with a flower made of fresh peach slices and kiwi in the cake display at The Enchanted Bakery in Grand Island.
Like works of art, the cakes are beautiful and pleasing to the eye. But, they are even more pleasing to the taste buds.
Sisters Ana Gonzalez and Veronica Ramos always dreamed of starting their own business together. In November, their dreams became reality when they opened The Enchanted Bakery on the busy intersection of Fourth and Eddy streets in this south-central Nebraska city.
The road to becoming business owners was long and steep for these sisters, who grew up in Mexico and moved to the United States at age 16. But, persistence has paid off.
Ana said she always wanted to be a business owner.
“It’s important to be your own business owner to succeed,” Ana said.
Homesick for the unique flavors of Mexico
They decided on a cake business because they wanted to bring a taste of their Hispanic heritage to America. The sisters missed the unique flavor of the cakes and cookies they ate growing up in Mexico. Veronica returned to Guadalajara, Mexico, for a short time to learn the Hispanic confectionary secrets of cake decorating and baking from a school there.
“The flavor is different,” Veronica said of the Mexican cakes. “The cakes are different. It’s a different way of making cakes.”
Ana said it’s hard to describe their cakes and cookies.
“It’s like an enchanted taste or flavor,” she said.
That’s how the name of their new bakery emerged.
Previously, Ana and Veronica operated under the name Pasteleria Crystal, a business they started in Ana’s home in Hastings in 2008. With the home-based business, they were limited mainly to pre-order cakes for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and quinceañera parties.
Storefront expands their reach
But, to share their flavors with more customers, they knew they needed a store front.
Ana began researching and found the perfect building in Grand Island with a steady traffic flow. In the meantime, she also began learning about being a business owner and signed up for a class. That’s where she discovered Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and connected with Griselda Rendon, a Hispanic Business Center loan specialist with REAP.
Griselda walked Ana through the challenges of opening a new business — from permits, financing and training to helping translate during meetings with electricians, plumbers and others.
REAP’s Hispanic Business Center works with rural Latino entrepreneurs to create new economic opportunity, higher incomes, asset growth and improved skills.
Griselda, who has worked with REAP for one year, said she is starting to see an increase in Hispanic business owners.
“A lot of the ones I have worked with were not aware of the assistance that is out there,” she said. “There are a lot of resources for small business owners, and language is a big barrier because most of the information is in English. I think that’s a little intimidating for them.”
Griselda helped Ana navigate through the purchase of her building at 418 N. Eddy Street. With the help of Ana’s brothers, who work in construction, she transformed one-third of the building into the bakery. A hair salon and a nutritional supplement business occupy the other spaces in the building, providing rental income to help finance the bakery.
Cake lovers are finding their way to Grand Island
The new high-traffic location has been successful so far as they are attracting more customers, including more Caucasian customers and cake lovers from Kearney to York.
“The thing that has helped the most is that people come during the week,” Ana said. “If they need a cake unexpectedly, we try to make sure we have cakes available for people who just walk in the door.”
The sisters have expanded their cake flavors from three to 15 since they opened the new bakery. The most popular cakes are the Three Leches con Durazno (Three Milk With Peaches) and Enchanted, which features layers of cake, whip cream and finely-chopped nuts, covered with a layer of whip cream and chocolate and adorned with sprinkles of red coconut.
Even more mouth-watering selections
Their selection also now includes three mouth-watering cheesecakes: Queso con Blueberry (Blueberry Cheesecake), Queso con Fruta (Fruit Cheesecake) and Queso con Chocolate (Chocolate Cheesecake). Other cakes include Conde, Cappuccino, Zanahoria, Café, Can Can, Three Chocolates, Selva Negra (Black Forest), and Calabasa (Pumpkin Cake).
The bakery sells cakes by the slice or as a whole. They also sell melt-in-your-mouth mini cookies and cream-filled cupcakes. Free samples and coffee are always available to those who visit the bakery.
And, of course, they still bake and decorate cakes for special occasions. The flavors in the cakes coupled with the artistic presentation make the cakes especially unique.
Ana and Veronica appear radiantly happy as they live their dream of working together and being business owners. But, they said the best part of their work is seeing satisfied customers.
“What’s most fulfilling is knowing that customers are leaving happy,” Ana said. “(It’s rewarding) knowing that the customer thinks the cake tastes good and was decorated nicely.”