APEX — Tina Yuhl noticed the bakery on a corner of North Salem Street in downtown Apex shortly after moving to the area. She didn’t have plans to open a brick-and-mortar store, but she was drawn to that one.
“I would drive by this bakery and say if it was ever for sale, it’s the only one that would tempt me,” said Yuhl, who attended culinary school in New York.
As fate would have it, she and a friend were searching for a commercial cooking space when she learned the owners were ready to sell. In less than a week, a deal had been inked and Buttercream’s Bakeshop was in business.
“It has been a definite learning experience,” Yuhl said. “This is the first storefront business I’ve owned. I made every mistake you could. But I have never enjoyed anything as much as this. I was not expecting to enjoy it this much.”
An extensive selection of brownies are on display, including the popular “Frankly, my dear” red-velvet version.
“Our pastry case is unique,” Yuhl said. “We have everything from traditional to ‘down home’ like your mother would have made.”
Apple pie cookies, scones and cream puffs are big sellers. “And lots of cakes,” she said. “We do lots of cakes.”
Yuhl said Buttercream’s location in the historic downtown district is key to its success: “There is almost always something going on.”
She is looking forward to Trick or Treat on Salem Street, which she bills as “the most entertaining afternoon of the year.”
In its early days, the bakery did not stay open late. But Yuhl noticed weekend diners often stopped at the bakery hoping for dessert.
“People had their noses pressed against the windows,” she said.
Now the doors are open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Baking typically begins at 5 a.m., and holidays are busier than usual.
“Thanksgiving is all about pies,” Yuhl said. “We also do mini versions of everything.”
In December, the bakery will offer a cookie decorating class for adults. Yuhl said a class for children last year drew more interest from adults.
“This will be sophisticated decorating,” she said.
And to help ease the holiday breakfast burden, the bakery will sell cinnamon rolls and scones, frozen and ready to pop in the oven on Christmas morning.
Yuhl said the staff is often bouncing ideas off one another. Their creativity is about to spawn a new side business: Party in a Bag. Each bag will contain handmade banners, favors and other items to help alleviate much of the work for parents planning parties for their children.
“We have made a family here,” Yuhl said. “We have a blast.”
She credits her store manager, Trudie Laches, for keeping her on track. “I would be completely lost if she hadn’t come in here and asked for a job.”
Yuhl has discovered one downside to being a baker: “I’ve gained 15 pounds this year,” she said, grinning. “I taste everything. But I owe it to my customers.”