Have you ever been tempted to break into a tub of cookie dough ice cream in the middle of the night? Are you known to carry your own utensils in case you happen to stumble upon some treats during your day? Even if you don’t carry your own fork around, we bet you would still brake for cheesecake. And if you find yourself in Dublin this spring, you’ll have a good reason to stop.
The Cheesecake Girl, focused on local ingredients and made from scratch baked goods, is opening their second bakery in Dublin in 2021 and feeling optimistic despite the ongoing pandemic. The new location, designed by Concepts by Kelly, will be ten times larger than the current location in Hilliard giving the owner, Samantha Strange, a lot of room to continue growing her business. The new layout will include a tasting room for weddings, a walk-up window (pending city approval), a huge kitchen, and so much more.
Not only did Strange decide upon cheesecake because it was her favorite dessert, but she saw a void in the market. “It seemed to be the most difficult dessert to perfect; which took a lot of trial and error at the start and still does. And I liked that challenge,” she tells us.
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She started baking out of her home in 2017 just for fun and quickly outgrew her kitchen–moving into a commercial kitchen in the back of Upper Arlington’s Sunny Street Cafe. “I wanted to build a good catering base before taking on any retail location. After that side of the business grew we started applying for locations! We tried so many and were told no so many times,” Strange explains.
But all it takes is that one “yes” to keep pushing forward towards your dreams, and along came Hilliard and Center Street Market to provide that opportunity for Strange and her team. “We are so thankful for them taking a chance on this bakery and happy to call them our home,” she says.
Some local business owners might be feeling immense pressure to make important decisions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic–deciding to close their door or change their format–and it can be hard to know what the right choice is during a period of ever-present change.
“When COVID hit we were a month out from opening the Hilliard location and so scared. We worked long days to cut back on labor cost, tried to do most repairs and installs ourselves, and learned a lot – how to pivot, adapt to the new normal of COVID life, and none of it was easy,” she tells us.
However, Strange’s story shows that when you are passionate about something you do whatever it takes to make it happen; and that is exactly what she did with the help of her team.
“Honestly, this second location is purely out of necessity. We did not expect our Hilliard location to be so busy, especially in the midst of COVID. We have chefs in the kitchen daily from 4 am-11 pm and we are running out of room! We were looking for a second location for production and ran across this one in Dublin,” she says. Originally from Dublin, Ohio, it was a no-brainer for Strange to open up a second shop in the area she has always called home.
For those businesses considering making some difficult decisions during the crisis, Strange suggests focusing on their original purpose. “It might not be the vision you had originally sought out with, but it’s what your purpose is – follow that purpose and passion,” she says.