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Couple tastes sweet success after two and a half years in Richland
By Audra Distifeno for TCAJoB
After working in restaurants for years, Megan and Jason Savely ventured out on their own two and a half years ago and opened Frost Me Sweet Bistro & Bakery.
They have met with sweet success, growing from a singular bakery and coffeehouse to a bakery, bistro, and most recently, cookbook creators and award-winning culinary experts.
“I’m feeling very thankful right now,” said Megan Savely. “We have a really good crew who works hard and is rooting for us to succeed. The largest contributor to our success is our employees.”
After opening, the couple worked in tandem to produce fresh baked items and coffee in a 200-sq.-ft. space. They quickly outgrew it and moved into their current location at 710 The Parkway, Richland. They figured they’d need about five employees, which worked temporarily, but the business is now 16 employees strong in the 2,600-sq.-ft. space.
“We have a unique situation in that we almost have three businesses within one,” Savely said. ”We have the bakery with all of its staffing; our quick-service, grab and go cupcake counter with its staff; and the restaurant with its staff.”
The couple works tirelessly to offer a unique dining experience, premier cupcakes, and custom cake boutique.
The business was named “Wedding Industry Experts Winner,” Top 10 Best Cakes USA, and Top 10 Best Cakes International, all in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
One decision the couple feels it made correctly is hiring trained employees who have invested their own money in perfecting their skills at school.
“All of our bakery staff has graduated from pastry and confection school,” she said. “And all of our chefs have gone to culinary school. We want our staff to look at it as a career — not just a job. We really feel blessed that they take their responsibilities seriously.”
Frost Me Sweet Bakery & Bistro offers desserts, lunch and dinner menus, local wines and microbrews with table seating and two lounging areas.
With their experience have come lessons learned. As most restaurateurs know, the business can be unpredictable.
“You can have a run where six Mondays in a row are completely dead, so you decrease the staffing. Then, the next Monday might be packed with a line outside waiting to get in,” she said. “I really feel strongly that as an owner, I have to be there to support my employees. A business owner should be able to step in and help in any position so the show doesn’t stop. I’ve learned that working in the business every single day makes a big difference to your employees. When we’re working hard and taking pride in the business, it’s natural for them to do the same.”
Another lesson, one that came years after serving as general manager at others’ restaurants, is that no decision is a simple one.
“When I was working for someone else, I’d often think, ‘Why don’t they just….?’ and make a change,” said Savely.
She saw change as simple then, and didn’t realize the multitude of considerations an owner must make behind the scenes.
“I now realize it’s not simple,” she said. “This experience has given me a better perspective, insight, and forethought. I have to think how a change might affect future business, how it will be interpreted by other people, the rest of the employees and more. We’re just as scared every day as when we first opened the doors, but we work hard every day.”
Despite obstacles along the way, the couple has made decisions that were critical to its success — the first being the decision to save, save, and save instead of utilizing a business loan to get off the ground.
“We saved and drained every drop of our savings by about eight months after opening,” she shared. “I remember coming in on a Friday and looking at QuickBooks and our bank accounts. I cried and cried, and asked my husband, ‘At what point do we walk away?’”
Savely said her husband told her they’d wait through the weekend and make a decision that Sunday.
“That was the busiest weekend we’d had since opening,” she said. “It restored our faith, and it’s been growing ever since.”
The dedication paid off.
Frost Me Sweet recently earned the people’s choice award at Tri-Cities Home Builder Association’s Chefs on Parade event. Her chef prepared “Duck a la orange,” duck confit with orange sauce; Jason Savely crafted a filet mignon with caramelized balsamic onion, and she and the bakers created a huge buffet line of cupcakes and desserts.
“I screamed and I cried when I found out,” she said. “It’s such an awesome award. I don’t often get to see the first line people saying ‘This food is amazing!’”
Instead, she said, she generally gets to deal with the hottest fires burning at the moment.
“To win the award makes me realize that we’re actually doing things right,” she said.
In addition to the title, Frost Me Sweet will grace the cover of HBA’s magazine next year.
Another positive decision was being adamant about consistency – in portion sizes, measurements, ingredients, etc., and not thinking they needed sparkling new equipment when they first opened.
“We didn’t go into it thinking we needed the best slicer, the newest refrigerator,” she said. “We searched craigslist and traveled to Seattle and Spokane to buy equipment from restaurants that were closing.”
The couple slowly replaces the equipment as needed.
“I really think it takes at least a year to establish yourself in the community as a small business. Then, you must continually prove yourself and change with the trends.”
Since opening, its monthly expenses have increased 10 times over what they started at, but the gross profits have easily increased by 15 times.
But Savely knows she can’t simply assume business will just maintain itself. It takes constant care and work.
“You must change with the trends. Foodies have their own language and I love to speak that language. It used to be all-things bacon, then figs. It’s always changing and we try to address those changes boldly,” she said.
Community members and visitors alike have responded well, and she’s hoping to have that same welcoming response when her new a cookbook is released in December on amazon.com (in digital and hard-copy), and at Barnes and Noble.
“We had a scout who flew here from southern California, ate here, and thankfully, really liked the food,” Megan Savely said. “They (Savory Books) offered us a cookbook deal.”
She created most of the baked items in the book, shared a couple family recipes, while Jason Savely and head chef Megan Kammerer added more.
“I was really excited to come up with new recipes and new desserts Frost Me Sweet style, but I didn’t share our secrets in the cookbook,” Savely said.
Frost Me Sweet has also ventured into finer confections – petit fours, French macaroons, truffles and more — a newer focus of the business.
“We really want to offer homemade desserts that can’t be found elsewhere in the Tri-Cities,” she explained.
Their ultimate goal, however, is creating desserts and cuisine that please customers and leave them wanting more.
“My business plan is for us to make sure we’re serving the best, freshest food that can be made with local, fresh, and organic (when possible) ingredients,” she said. She personally addresses customer reviews and ratings, and takes them into consideration when trying to continually improve.
Frost Me Sweet is at 710 The Parkway in Richland. The hours are 10 a.m. – 8, Monday – Thursday; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. The phone number is 420-4704 and you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FrostMeSweet.
HBA announced parade winners
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business October 2013
Valiant Homes won the coveted Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Best in Parade Award at the 2013 Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities’ Parade of Homes. The only builders eligible for the award were the builders who won the Best Overall in each category. Those winners were: Stonecrest Builders, for a home with less than 2,500 square feet; Gretl Crawford Homes, in the 2,500-2,000-sq.-ft. category; Pahlisch Homes Inc. in the 3,000-4,000-sq.-ft. category; and Valiant Homes in the greater than 4,000-sq.-ft. category. Awards were also given for various features in each category. The 2013 Parade of homes featured 26 homes throughout the Tri-Cities. Megan Savely and Megan Kammerer of Frost Me Sweet in Richland were named Best Chefs on Parade. Second place in the Best Chefs contest went to Chefs Akram Ziada and Cameron Triplett of Northwest Sunset Culinary and Catering and third place was awarded to Chef Mike McGee of The Waterfront Bistro at Courtyard by Marriott, Columbia Point.
Wallace earns service award
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business December 2013
Erin Wallace, a lead server and assistant manager at Frost Me Sweet in Richland, received the Excellence in Service Award from the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau. A selection committee comprised of leaders from the Tri-Cities’ business community selected Wallace from 48 nominees, based on her history of providing exemplary customer service and the ability to create a memorable experience the Tri-Cities.
Bakery and bistro opens in The Parkway in Richland
By Loretto J. Hulse, Herald food writer
Megan Savely and her husband Jason of West Richland have recently opened Frost Me Sweet Bakery & Bistro in Richland. The popularity of their cupcakes forced the couple to move their operation to their new location at 710 The Parkway in Richland. See business story below.
Bakers and now restaurateurs Megan and Jason Savely of West Richland have been in business only since August, but demand for their gourmet cupcakes and special-occasion cakes already has forced a move into larger quarters.
Their first business, Sweet Beans, an espresso stand where they made and sold their gourmet cupcakes, was on Thayer Drive in Richland. It didn't take long for word to spread about the delicious treats. Soon they were selling out of cupcakes long before closing time.
"We couldn't keep up. We had to expand," Megan said.
Orders for wedding and other special-occasion cakes were adding up too. On April 13, they moved to 710 The Parkway in Richland, renaming their business Frost Me Sweet Bakery & Bistro. It's easy to spot-- just look for the bright turquoise building.
Megan always has enjoyed baking but never considered making it a career. Instead, she worked in a medical office for years.
"But I found I really didn't like the 9 to 5 life. I wanted something different, but what?" she said.
It wasn't until the Savelys, both Richland High School graduates, became engaged and began pricing wedding cakes that she discovered her talent for cake decorating.
"They cost thousands," she said. "I've always loved sculpture, crafts of all kinds, so I said to Jason, 'I can do this.' He said, 'No, it's got to be much harder than it looks.' "
Determined to give it a try, Megan bought fondant, a type of stiff cake icing, and made a cake.
"It wasn't that hard. The fondant works a lot like clay and I use some of the same tools and techniques for cake decorating that I use for sculpting," she said.
That was in 2008. Soon friends were asking her to bake special-occasion cakes of all kinds.
"It snowballed. Baking began to take over our house. One day Jason said, 'You've got to either give up baking or make it a business,' " she said.
That's when they opened the espresso stand, selling drinks and gourmet cupcakes with flavors like salted caramel, lemonade and chai spice for $3 each, $30 for a dozen.
When they moved to The Parkway, Jason traded in his framing hammer for a spatula.
"I'd worked in a restaurant years ago," he said, loading glasses into the dishwasher. "This is a lot easier on my body than construction."
They share the work of baking, cooking and supervising their 13 employees.
They make about three wedding cakes a week, plus other special-occasion cakes. Cupcakes, 18 to 20 dozen, are baked daily from scratch.
The majority of the food they serve either is organic or bought locally. There are several vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, and the pizzas can be made on gluten-free crusts.
"I like to play with food and work with my hands, cooking, baking, running the bistro, I love it," Megan said. "A lot of work and a lot of love go into every cupcake, every plate of food we make."
She said she strives to make every cake she bakes better than the one before.
"If you don't constantly improve, then you've peaked and there's only one way to go from there. I believe we have a long way to go before we peak," she said.
Frost Me Sweet opens in Richland
By Jenny Tiegs, GalTime Lead Ambassador, Yakima/Tri-Cities
on Thursday, April 21, 2011
I thought coffee and cupcakes was the best idea ever, along with wine and tacos, but there is a new place in Richland that has put me straight into heaven! Frost Me Sweet serves cupcakes and WINE!? Why don’t you reread that again: CUPCAKES AND WINE! And that is not all, they also offer an amazing lunch menu, assorted beerand my new favorite: lavendar lemonaid.
If you are familiar with my previous article about Sweet Beans, a coffee stand in Richland that serves coffee and cupcakes, then you are well aware of my love affair with cupcakes. The little stand has been such a big hit that the adorable couple has decided to open an actual go-in-and-sit-down bakery and bistro for their treats. I’m not lying when I can devour one of their cupcake with such skill while driving down the backstreets of Richland simultanously steering, changing the radio stations and handing a thrown toy tractor back to my toddler. So the idea of actually sitting down to eat my cupcake (and yes, sharing it with my little buddy) was music to my ears, and probably a bit safer for everyone in the Tri Cities.
Frost Me Sweet cannot be missed on George Washington Way in Richland. It is painted the color of serentiy, which is exactly what is inside those doors. You can order a cupcake to share with a friend or a delicious lunch and sit in the front of the bistro. Or take yourself to the back where leather couches, classic rock and comforting décor welcome you. The same delicous cupcakes are available for a single serving or get a tray to take back to the office. You can also order lunch to go from their amazing takeout menu.
Sweet Beans is still open to meet your sugar and caffine needs, but if you find yourself with some time and need a place to escape, drive to Richland, order a glass of wine, a cupcake and just sit and enjoy. This is truly a treat for the Tri Cities and maybe even a public service. We all know a woman who has had her sugar and/or coffee for the day is a much happier lady, therefor making the community a better place. Thank you, Frost Me Sweet!
by Robin Salts Beckett
November 9, 2011
Frost Me Sweet
Before you head home, stop by Frost Me Sweet, a new bakery and bistro that’s also located in The Parkway. Frost Me Sweet opened last year, and owner Megan Savely says the hot spot is known best for its cupcakes, made with organic and local ingredients — and even packaged in eco-friendly materials.
Items are baked daily, with exotic-sounding flavors changing frequently.
Six flavors, however, are stocked every day. “If we didn’t have them, people would freak out,” said Savely. What flavors make customers go crazy? The Elvis, made with chocolate, peanut butter and banana (with a little of the King’s sparkle), peanut butter chocolate, red velvet, salted caramel, coconut cream and maple bacon. We are intrigued by the Nutella cupcake too.
The bistro side of things serves up lunch and dinner entrees (along with local wines and microbrews), including paninis and soups made with vegetables from the local farmer’s market when in season. Sounds like a delicious way to end a daytrip.
Frost Me Sweet Bakery & Bistro
710 The Parkway