Gourmet cookies, cakes, and cupcakes are coming to Mankato – best drop that summer bod diet now.
Bluebird Cakery is making their entrance to Mankato with a bang, making Front Street downtown sweeter, one cupcake at a time. They began their journey in Faribault, MN in the summer of 2014. However, Kelsy Wittmeier, owner and butter cream artist/people energizer, has been decorating and baking cakes since high school.
“I’ve been baking and decorating cakes since I was sixteen. And I started with just doing it at a home economics class in my high school,” said Wittmeier. “The instructor came in and asked for a volunteer to do a flower… I went up there and pumped out a flower, and she was like ‘oh my gosh, that took me like three years to learn.’ So I just knew I had a knack for it.”
Wittmeier had the opportunity to continue to practice her skill working at Rainbow the summer before college where she learned how to efficiently decorate a mass of cakes. She continued to decorate cakes in college as well. Wittmeier studied business management and human resources and also studied abroad in Australia where she worked at cafes. This is where a lot of the inspiration of locally sourced products and from-scratch passion came for Bluebird Cakery.
“As a small business owner, I want to support the people who work in this community and live in this community and thrive in this community,” said Wittmeier. “So why wouldn’t we try to be more local with our products? We’re always striving to find more sources for local things.”
After college, Wittmeier held jobs in HR both in La Crosse, WI and Cedar Rapids, IA. Although she had a lot of learning opportunities and experiences, Wittmeier went through some soul searching. She took some time off to really figure things out.
“I just thought ‘I don’t want what’s next, so now what?’ I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Wittmeier. “I just opened the farmer’s market stand and grew from there. Every week, I’d come back and people would suggest things or want things or want cakes. Then I got to the point that I was taking on so much that I couldn’t do it from my house.”
This is when Wittmeier contacted a local business in Faribault. They were able to set up times in order for Wittmeier to come in to bake and decorate cakes in a commercial kitchen. Interest grew in Bluebird Cakery in Faribault which then led to the next logical step—opening a store front.
“We started with a Kickstarter. That has been really fun, in Faribault especially,” says Wittmeier.
Wittmeier believed that a lot of locals were scared of a “young entrepreneur trying to stick their neck out there” because they’ve seen a lot of successful “mom and pop” shops fail.
“If they couldn’t do it, then why would I be able to?” Wittmeier said.
“I went to Kickstarter,” continues Wittmeier, “and that gave me an affirmation that there was support from the community. We raised just shy of $30,000 in 60 days, which is awesome. Our goal was $25,000. I was just over the moon.…We opened the store, and we celebrated our one-year anniversary last November.”
Since then, Bluebird Cakery has been welcomed with open arms. They wanted to extend their talent and business to Mankato after having to turn away some brides because of the overwhelming volume of orders. The second location in Mankato will allow a bigger capacity to fulfil the demand of orders.
Their menu is massive with delectable options, including some customer favorites such as sugar cookie dough, chai tea latte, or chocolate maple bacon, to name a few. Classic flavors such as chocolate and vanilla cake are available too. Vegan, gluten free, dairy-free, and soy-free options are also available, so that everyone can enjoy the best thing in life—cupcakes. Suggestions for crazy combos are definitely welcome as well.
In part of having incredibly delicious goodies, Bluebird Cakery oozes in positive vibes and happiness. Just walking into the store, you can smell the sweetness, almost tasting the sugar in the air. The windows let in natural light that forces you to also light up a bit on the inside. Wittmeier is a strong advocate of doing what you love to do and the store shows that. Her staff are a strong reflection of that, too, handpicking who best exemplifies that, including her store team leader for Mankato’s location, Stephanie Charlton.
They will be opening their doors March 31 for a soft opening. Tickets are available for purchase at $50 per person. This will include one admission, all you can drink coffee and espresso, hosted beer and wine, an all-you-can-eat dessert feast, and some Bluebird Cakery “swag.” Check out their Instagram and Facebook for an opportunity to purchase a ticket (they are limited to 75) at Bluebird Cakery KATO. Or just follow them for seductive photographs of cakes covered in buttercream, dripping with chocolate. Bluebird Cakery is located on 607 Front Street.