Moving back into Fullerton was something of a homecoming for Cake & Wedding Cottage and its owner Tammy Mansberger.
The shop has only been at 7076 Belair Road in Belair Beltway Plaza for about 6 months; before the 22-year-long run in Perry Hall near Silver Spring Road, though, they had a home in the same shopping center near the present location of Betty Brite Cleaners, Mansberger said.
In fact Mansberger, a Perry Hall native, worked there as a teenager when her cousins Donna and Charlie Parrish ran the family business.
“Our business began in a little house in Kingsville, at the corner of Belair and Sunshine Avenue … it looks like a cottage, it’s still there,” Mansberger said. “We’ve always been on the Belair Road corridor. This is a wonderful place to be, the tenants [at Beltway Plaza] are just so wonderful and welcoming,”
Customers, she said, also like the location because it’s convenient to the Beltway.
The business draws customers looking to buy baking and candy-making supplies and wedding accessories, as well as students who want to learn the arts of baking, cake decorating or candy-making from as far away as Virginia, Pennsylvania and Cumberland, MD.
Mansberger, who has a background in software design and pharmaceutical training, took the business over just 4 years ago after her mother unexpectedly passed away.
“Once you go through a life-changing event like that you re-evaluate a lot of things in your life,” she said. “My cousins were getting ready to retire and they asked me would I consider the possibility of taking over the business … I spent two full years really evaluating—I’ve always loved this business.”
Although in her previous lines of work Mansberger said she’d managed multi-million dollar contracts for clients around the globe, taking over a small business is “the hardest job [she’s] ever had.”
As Cake & Wedding Cottage nears its 35th year in business, Mansberger is reflective about what she called “a family business [she’s] always adored.”
“My mom and grandmom were always phenomenal cooks,” she said. “My grandmom was the one who was always into cakes and candy though … she was the one who inspired my cousin, Donna.”
When Cake Cottage, as it was called before they brought in the wedding accessories, opened they had a vision of not just being a supply shop but a classroom to teach cake decorating and candy-making to their customers.
“We still hold that vision to this day,” Mansberger said.
She personally auditions the pastry chefs and decorators who teach classes at the store.
“It’s really important to us to make sure we have qualified instructors to teach,” she said. “Anyone can tell you that they can, but I need to see it. Show me that you can pipe a flower … then show me that you can show me how to do it.”
It’s that sort of dedication to the craft that keeps customers coming back year after year.
“We want every customer to walk out feeling like they were treated pretty special,” Mansberger said. “It’s not unusual for us to see that next generation, customers who come in and say ‘I remember when I was really little my mom used to bring me in here, now here I a, shopping for my daughter.’”
“It’s a place where we want people to come in and feel that not only can they get knowledge and products but feel that they’re a part of our family. “
Cake & Wedding Cottage is celebrating their 35th anniversary on Sept. 22. Customers will enjoy a free gift with any purchase and festivities will also include delicious cupcakes, in-store demonstrations and a few giveaways.
In addition, anyone interested in cake decorating can pre-register for a number of classes and demonstrations. For information and pricing for classes and demonstrations, call 410-529-0200.