The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce helped the Baked Cupcakery celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday.
Baked Cupcakery owner Tara Bondi explained during the ribbon-cutting that starting her own business "was never really the plan."
"It was, you know, 'Can you make a cake for me?' And then that led to somebody else to somebody else, and before I knew it, it was becoming a full -time job."
That's what happens when you're good at what you do. Bondi has been baking her whole life, and has long made cakes for birthday parties, baptisms, bridal showers, or any kind of event.
"I love to bake. It's just a passion of mine," she said.
She does custom order cakes and cookies, "But cupcakes mainly. They're easy, they're fun, there's so many different flavors you can do."
The reception to her business since she and her husband opened the doors has been "better than we had ever imagined," Bondi said.
This is her first venture into business. Her ribbon-cutting event was attended by family, friends, officials of the town government, and members of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce.
Eric Fiebelkorn, president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, said he has picked up Bondi's cupcakes for his office meetings as a change-of-pace to the usual coffee and doughnuts.
"They're cool. They're something different, they're a classy touch to say 'thank you' or when we have a meeting," he said.
Opening a new business is never a piece of cake. Bondi, an Islander born and raised, was working from home and decided a year and a half ago to write a business plan and look for the perfect spot.
"We spent a long time looking for a location and it was worth the wait to hold out for this place," she said.
Landlord Larry Playfair remodeled the location, 1879 Whitehaven Road, unit B. The Baked Cupcakery is part of the improvements at the Whitehaven Road-Grand Island Boulevard intersection, the busiest in town. Fiebelkorn noted the ongoing upgrades going on across the street from the Baked Cupcakery at NOCO Express and with the property improvement at the Island Ship Center next door.
"Larry's done a great job with this building," Fiebelkorn said. "This is going to pay dividends. It's right in the town center."
"It's such a nice, appropriate space, and it's beautiful. I've had 20, 30 people just say how beautiful it is, and such a dramatic change too."
Fiebelkorn said the vibe in the store "feels like Grand Island."
Bondi said she and her husband chose the Whitehaven Road location because it's in the center of the Island near its main intersection. She called the white house a "beautiful building now that it's completely re-done." Playfair "did a wonderful job. We've gotten very lucky with a good landlord and good neighbors," she said.
Tara and Jonathan Bondi, with help from sons Carter and Cameron, cut the ceremonial ribbon Tuesday for the opening of the Baked Cupcakery at 1879 Whitehaven Road. (photo by Larry Austin)