Heather Kool is the owner and culinary expert of Cecilia’s Cake Shop, which specializes in custom wedding cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Comments trimmed for length and clarity.
Q: Can you tell me about the history and background of Cecilia’s Cake Shop?
Cecilia Villaveces started this business. She was a woman from Colombia, and I believe she began the business in her early 40s. They moved here, and she realized that in America, you could be a businesswoman. So she started making cakes out of her apartment and then established it in 1990. Her slogan was “the art of baking.” She was really into the baking aspect of it and creating really big showpieces for people. It’s been in the same location ever since.
Q: How did you yourself get started with Cecilia’s Cake Shop?
I moved to Athens, and I was pregnant. My friend was working here, and she suggested that I, you know, try to get a job here. So, I came on board, and I had previous experience working in the food industry and as an artist. I always wanted to own this business because I love the products, and I really love Athens. I just knew this was where I’d eventually be.
Q: What sets your cake shop apart from others in the area? What is your unique selling proposition?
There aren’t many bakeries making seven-minute meringue icing or using real heavy cream to make their whipped cream icing. I would like to think that our quality of product sets us apart, and also Cecilia herself because she was such a powerful, strong woman here. Yeah, people say all the time that they’re really grateful that we’re still open, and I just feel honored to carry on another woman’s business. I feel like she’s watching me all the time.
Q: Can you share any memorable customer stories or feedback that highlight the impact of your cakes on the community?
A lot of people say things to me like, “We’re so grateful you’re still here. You know, your cakes were at my daughter’s first birthday, and she’s now in college, and even though we moved away, we did our wedding here.” The history of what Cecilia’s cakes means to people during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays is significant. I feel very special, and I love hearing those stories. You know, some people say, “Oh, I started buying from Cecilia back when she was in her basement.” Yeah, that’s tradition, which is surprising when you think about the history of more than 20 years of a product.
Ky Warhola is a third year majoring in public relations.
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