Every weekday Katalina (Kathy) Riegelmann rises at 3:15 a.m. to get ready for work. She arrives at her business about an hour later, rolls up her sleeves and begins preparing the assorted cupcakes and other baked goods that have attracted hungry customers since Katalina’s Bakery opened last October.
Flour power: The business plan for Katalina's spent extra time in the oven until Riegelmann could be certain it wasn't half-baked.
Riegelmann is usually at the shop until about 7:30 p.m. The hours make for a long workday, but it is time she savors, says Riegelmann.
Â“My favorite part is listening to people when IÂ’m in the kitchen,Â” she says, Â“listening to the kidsÂ’ squeals and everybodyÂ’s reaction when they first walk in.Â”
She refers to the beckoning combinations of colors, textures and flavor blendings readily available to satisfy the sweet tooth of any visitor.
The irresistible attraction of a freshly baked cupcake is what Riegelmann banked on when she decided to open the bakery.
Â“A couple of years ago the cupcake craze started kicking in,Â” she says, and she wanted to be the first in New Haven to take advantage of the trend.
Progress was sporadic, however. Other responsibilities Â— raising her son and teaching fitness courses at YaleÂ’s Payne Whitney Gym, for example Â— competed for her attention. And ironing out the nuts and bolts of a business plan took up more time than she had expected.
Not that Riegelmann was new to business-ownership. She and partner Candace Blasi opened Audubon Street fixture Koffee? in 1993. In fact, it was for that Audubon Street fixture that she began baking. She wanted to offer pastries along with the featured caffeine beverages. That led her to discover her calling, recalls Riegelmann, who had never before delved into baking.
Â“It all came out great,Â” she says of the baked goods she produced for Koffee? Â“GodÂ’s timing was right on. ItÂ’s what I was supposed to be doing.Â”
Riegelmann and her partner sold Koffee? in 1998. She began putting together a business proposal for the bakery a couple of years ago, after attending a Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF) seminar that focused on small-business nuts and bolts. At the time she was teaching a fitness class at YaleÂ’s Payne Whitney Gym and one of the people taking it valium online a Yale School of Management student. He volunteered to devise a spreadsheet for her proposal.
While Riegelmann had ambien online partner with Koffee?, sheÂ’s the sole proprietor of KatalinaÂ’s. That meant she had to make all major decisions and shoulder all of the costs herself. She was disappointed when her first choices for a location, one nearby on Whitney Avenue and the other just a few paces away on Audubon Street, fell through. She once again credits divine intervention, this time for Â“leadingÂ” her to an optimum space. After experiencing the initial venue disappointments, Riegelmann contacted YaleÂ’s University Properties and was directed to the 74 Whitney Avenue building.
Â“I thought it was too big at first,Â” she recalls. But the rental terms were amenable, with University Properties picking up the bulk of the build-out cost. And Riegelmann was able to secure a $65,000 loan from CEDF for start-up expenses.
Riegelmann, who bakes all goods on-site, oversees five part-time employees.
As she continues to grow, the space she at first considered too large is starting to take on an atmosphere of pristine hominess. Works by local artists hang from pastel-colored walls, and white tables surrounded by sets of four white chairs allow customers to sit and relax. Stumptown coffee is the brew of choice, helping to wash down RiegelmannÂ’s mÃ©lange of creative baked goods: chocolate cupcakes with caramel frosting, chocolate cupcakes with ganache filling and peanut butter frosting, coconut cupcakes with coconut butter cream icing, strawberry bread, banana bread, fig bars and various brownies, to name a few.
There also is a selection of vegan and gluten-free products, including carrot cake, coconut lime, chocolate coconut and banana cupcakes.
A chocolate cupcake with goat cheese and almond frosting is one of the more popular items that Â“flies off the shelf,Â” Riegelmann notes, adding, Â“I have the kind of clientele that likes the weird and the wonderful.Â” And over the course of a long day, thatÂ’s what she attempts to give them.
Â“I try to add something new,Â” she says, Â“so people coming in are entertained and enticed.Â”
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