The other day I had an appointment in Cloverdale, and allowing time to get lost as I always do, I arrived early and thought that since this visit was a business appointment with an old friend I would bring a little treat to our meeting.

Now as I write this I want to be fair. I have passed this business many times without stopping in, for a couple reasons, one I always like to give businesses time to work out the kinks and two give them awhile to see if they indeed will be around for any length of time.

Again in fairness, I probably have given this business way longer, after initially, they caught my eye, to stop in and give them a try. The website says that they have been in business since 2010. So this is so my fault in not getting here earlier.

The Sugar Patisserie sounds like a cool place making cool things. This was the first visit and as I believe in giving places at least three tries, I will be back again.

Upon entering the place you see a small counter, that holds the register what you also notice a bunch of everyone else’s business cards along the counter. I am always interested in the thinking of this habit….why would you pay the rent and then allow another business to hold any real estate. Unless of course, you are charging.

The second thing I noticed, at approximately 11 am is that the cooler was dirty. The shelving was dirty, not as in dirty but icing and filling of some sort. I thought wow that’s great that much product has been sold already.

To the right of the cooler in behind was an open table that had a binder(recipe book??) and underneath of it was all sort of bakery debris. Boxes and containers and papers. It was very messy since it was very visible from where I stood.

One of the two girls that were there asked if they could help. I saw the stuff in the cases and thought I would see if there was a simple piece of carrot cake. The one girl asked the other and was told via communication, that indeed yes there was and asked how many pieces.

I had stated that two would be great. Pretty soon she came from the back with a partial tray of iced carrot caked and began packing my order.

While I waited I continued my eye shopping and noticed some beautiful pieces in the cooler and I presumed dry pieces or maybe orders waiting for pick up, like larger cakes. I also noticed on top of their cooler or freezer cakes on display. MMMMM not so sure if I would want my product on top of the cooler for display, no case no special display…

The place seemed clean but really disorganized which made it unappealing. There were also flyers/posters that had nothing to do with this business. Much better if there was a community wall.

I know what you are thinking ….. hey, they have been in business since 2010 obviously they are doing something right. Yes for sure they are…. But as a business owner, I always welcomed when people told me what they saw coming into our establishments. It makes one better. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day grind. Sometimes businesses are not at the next level having enough income to hire that person to look after the mundane day to day stuff. And after a long day of making the product, we begin not to see the clutter, the mess and we may not look for the “showcase” our stuff to the best of what our products deserve.

I feel this was the case here. Maybe I am wrong, I hope I am, and I will try again to see if indeed I am….or not

So… I leave with my box, paid for and get into my vehicle. I look on the box for the name or logo or something that says I can get this product from here again. If indeed I give this away and the receiver loved it would you not want them to know where to get the product again?

I then opened the box to see if maybe there was a card… to notice that my carrot cake had a white tone to the side of it, one that comes with being frozen and now starting to thaw. Yes, this carrot cake was frozen. NOW hey, wait I know of many bakeries that freeze their products, many of them that bake a frozen product so that its fresh in their bakery…Timmies comes to mind.

What I guess bothers me is this, did I not get a marked box in hopes we did not remember where we got the carrot cake once we discovered it frozen, and or why would someone not say….hey we have some but its frozen do you mind.

As was intended I was going to my appointment and planned to serve it within a half an hour. This would not have been possible. I ended up not taking in the carrot cake to my meeting, I would not have wanted to explain the product.

So here’s the thing…..I do not tell people unless they ask what I would do differently. Maybe they are happy with how things are. Maybe not?

I would suggest that Sugar Patisserie, hire a consultant to get them on track, but as I said, you have to believe you are off track to want to do something.

I will give this bakery another try, for sure as the visual beauty of the majority of the products was stunning, taste unknown….

I can tell you I would not go back a third time though no matter how good the product looked or tasted if its messiness wasn’t addressed.

Until next time……

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