Repko mixes cooking with business

Repko mixes cooking with business

March 20th, 2013 in Local Regional News

Sweet Angel Cakes owner Toni Repko stands at the counter of her new retail storefront on East Brainerd Road.

Photo by Meghan Pittman

East Brainerd's got a new spot for a sugar fix.

Sweet Angel Cakes has relocated and opened a retail front in the Brainerd Hills Shopping Center on East Brainerd Road, meaning anytime someone wants one of owner and longtime baker Toni Repko's specialty cakes or cupcakes, they can pop in for a bite.

"I've lived around here and in Apison ... but my [business] was located on Cloud Springs Road," said Repko, whose creation for Chattanooga Times Free Press bridal expo Enchanted Evening (formerly Bridal Affair) was selected by chef Duff Goldman, star of Food Network's "Ace of Cakes," as the best. "Now I'm closer to my people, and I know and see people constantly."

While wedding cakes are Repko's specialty, she also bakes custom cakes for birthdays. After hearing that her cakes were a big hit at the weddings she baked for, Repko decided to open a retail front where cake lovers could buy her tasty creations as cupcakes or baby and regular sized cakes.

The space she's occupying includes a full commercial kitchen, which she has turned into another business called Shared Kitchen Thyme.

"I have four vendors who also rent this space from me," Repko said. "We're all helping each other and looking after each other."

She and the four vendors split the time evenly by organizing time on an online calendar.

"They have unlimited access to a state-of-the-art kitchen and storage," Repko said. "I was [renting kitchen space] at a time ... and I hope it's a positive stepping stone for them."

She said she will even purchase their goods wholesale and sell them at her retail front.

"I get a little bit of money and they get paid without having to go through getting a store or kitchen themselves," said Repko. "It's really perfect."

That positive attitude carries through in all of her work. She's a hit with brides because she wants to make sure she's personally invested in their big day, she said.

"I just love meeting with the brides and hearing everything about their wedding," Repko said. "We only do two to three weddings a weekend so I can make sure I take my time on them."

Even when brides' requests are odd, like a cake shaped like a hearse for a groom in the funeral business or a cake shaped like a roasted hog, Repko is enthusiastic the whole way.

"I just try to build relationships and always be positive and show them that I care," she said.