Shifting from her former kitchen and shop on Auckland’s K’ Rd was a “pretty quick decision” made at the start of 2016, Rondel says. Business was booming and her team had doubled to six people, creating crowding issues in the kitchen, not to mention the shop space.
“Customers would be walking in and we would be eating our lunch or whatever. It wasn’t a space where people would be wowed,” she says.
Rondel entertained a few possibilities for the new site, but ended up shifting just two doors down.
“This space, we already knew it was available but we kind of didn’t consider it until the very end when we realised how perfect it was,” she says.
Before it was Salon de Cake, the new site was unoccupied for two years. Rondel recalls it being previously selling embroidery, specialising in patches for gangs.
“It was really high-security, with mirrored windows and a bell. You couldn’t just walk in there.”
When the Caker team took on the new site, it was three times the size of the original and freshly-painted, but needed a commercial kitchen installed. This was Rondel’s second kitchen installation, and she was relieved to see it was easier than the first.
“I said to myself [after installing the previous commercial kitchen], ‘I never want to do this again,’ but here was so easy.”
The whole fit-out and move was done by Rondel and two helpers in a single weekend. As well as the kitchen, they installed curtains and lighting, and added a display bench in the shop section. The store is set up to be “very changeable”.
“We did kind of surprise ourselves,” Rondel says. “Really though, the bones were so beautiful that it didn’t need much done to it.”
The kitchen ate up around half the floor space, but as Rondel explains, it isn’t quite hidden from customers like a traditional baker’s kitchen would be – the curtain is all that stands between the kitchen and shop floor. This is drawn back when she holds events instore.
An ornate white table and pink chairs placed like a café setting serves as an office for Rondel and her staff. They’re frequently out there working when customers enter.
“They’re walking into our space, almost like a living room,” she says.
It’s this intimacy which is referenced in the new shop’s name, Salon de Cake: “It’s a salon, like a home. It works.”