Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Robin Peneira knows how difficult it can be to start a small business.
As a custom cake maker, she got her start at the Chattanooga Market before opening her own cake shop in 2007. When the economy began to prove difficult, Peneira was forced to close her business but found a way to continue creating cakes when she purchased Kitchen Access at Eastgate Town Center.
“We consider ourselves an incubator where you can come and start your business and expand,” she said. “I try to help vendors, because I’ve been in their position.”
In order to work out of Kitchen Access, vendors must have a business license, insurance and a permit from either the Health Department or the Department of Agriculture. Once their paperwork is in place they can pay a monthly fee to use the kitchen, store products or equipment and begin making their new business a reality without the costly overhead of opening up a storefront, according to Peneira.
“It gives startup business owners a chance to fulfill a dream in an affordable way,” she said. “You never know if your business is going to succeed unless you give it a try.”
Peneira is currently in the process of expanding Kitchen Access to effectively double its size and is looking for new vendors to help occupy the new space.
“We are looking for any kind of vendor,” she said. “The sky is the limit.”
In addition to owning the business incubator, Peneira continues her own small business Robin’s Creative Cakes through the space. On average, she brings approximately 30 cakes in 27 different flavors to the Chattanooga Market each week and makes custom varieties for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions.
“I love getting to be a part of people’s special occasions,” she said. “I’ll never forget the hug I got after making my first wedding cake.”
From her best-selling coconut cake to decorated cakes with zebra stripes, polka dots and bright colors, Peneira said she can make most any kind of cake. She and her staff work to make sure the cakes both look and taste great, she added.
“Everyone comes back to me and says they can’t believe how moist they are,” said Peneira. “You can have a beautiful cake, but if it doesn’t taste good, people are not going to come back.”
Robin’s Creative Cakes are available at the Chattanooga Market for $4.25 a slice or at Kitchen Access at Eastgate Mall.
Contact Peneira at 255-1665 to place a cake order or to make an inquiry about Kitchen Access.