About eight years ago, Phingky Fuentes bought Cupcake Corner at 439 Stradbrook Street to realize her dream of creating and producing baked goods for living.
That passion had long been in her blood.
For years, her mom had baked all kinds of goodies during the Christmas season and made elaborate birthday cakes whenever the occasion arose.
As if by osmosis, she inherited her mom’s talents and passion for creating all kinds of delectable desserts.
So, it was only fitting that she opened her own bakery, renaming Cupcake Corner as Pinky’s Bake Shop after graduating from the professional baking course at Red River College Polytechnic.
For six years, a loyal client base faithfully bought her delectable desserts, which ranged from cupcakes to cheesecakes and everything in between.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.
Suffice it to say, the past two years have been challenging to say the least.
Looking for more ways to sustain her business in today’s turbulent times, Fuentes enrolled in Food & Beverage Manitoba’s Restaurant to Recovery course to find new ways to drive revenue.
She says the course was a real eye-opener.
“It brought in a vision of how to make our business better, from simple things like doing packaging so people gravitate to a product and grab it from a shelf,” she says. “We learned about where to display products and at what height, and about things like packaging colour and shelf life.”
That wasn’t all she learned, adds Fuentes.
“We also learned about sustainability, marketing, and product branding. It opened our eyes up to all the different possibilities.”
One of those possibilities involves creating a line of pre-packaged cupcakes to be sold in grocery stores – or even a new cake mix line.
“The idea is to create a wider product offering to generate more revenue,” she says. “And people can have the same product as we sell here, but be able to make it at home.”
Another potential avenue – this time in promotions – was also identified by the program.
“As I said, the program really opened our eyes to more possibilities, and one was e-commerce. I realized I really needed to make my website better, which is something that I’m now working on,” Fuentes says. “Having a better website is also going to help generate more business.”
The lessons learned from Restaurant to Recovery course has her business pointed in the right direction moving forward, she adds.
“We now have a vision for how we want to get better and grow as a business. With these ideas and knowledge of how to branch out with new product lines, I’m hopeful that business will be better than ever once the pandemic eases and things start opening up again.”
Pinky’s Bakeshop is located at 439 Stradbrook, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.