Sunderland cake shop celebrates milestone in tough first year of business
The first year of any new business is difficult enough, but a Sunderland cake shop is celebrating the milestone whilst also tackling Covid restrictions for the past eight months.
Paticake Patisserie took over the former Fire Place Shop in Tunstall Road a year ago this week, completing the transformation of the site with their colourful cakes of more than 50 varieties.
It was a leap of faith for husband and wife team Patrycja and Ariel Niesporek, who opened their first cake shop after the popularity of Patrycja’s occasion cakes business, and the new venture was seen as a much welcome addition to the Thornhill area, earning rave reviews from customers.
But just four months after opening, like so many businesses in the city, they were hit with the first lockdown and were forced to close their labour of love.
Since then they’ve had to navigate the constantly changing rules and regulations of Covid, but since reopening after the first lockdown in May have managed to remain open for takeout and have kept their staff in jobs.
"I will not close this shop until I am made to,” said Ariel. “We will do whatever we have to within the restrictions to stay open, to keep our staff in jobs and to bring our customers joy with our cakes.
"The first year of any business is hard, but we feel like if we can get through this pandemic, we can only improve and bring people more happiness. Anything the Government throw at us we will accept, and follow the rules and keep pushing forward. Our flavours are so unique and we want to be the best cake shop in the region, that’s our target.”
The cake shop, which also offers Polish cakes, in honour of the couple’s heritage, has been attracting people from across the North East who’ve been stocking up on takeouts as well as their Christmas cake pre-order service.
During these difficult times, customers often give cakes to friends as gifts and Ariel says this small gestures of kindness shouldn’t be underestimated.
"Cake really does make people happy and it’s so rewarding to see people’s reactions,” he said. “I’ve worked in factories, in construction, in security, but this is the most satisfying job I’ve ever had.
"You see people walking down the street, their face is down and their eyes are sad, but they come in and their faces light up. So many people are lonely at the minute and it gives me so much pleasure and joy to be able to speak to them and bring some joy.
"People often give our cakes to neighbours and friends as gifts. You can buy a mass produced cake from a supermarket, but ours are made with so much love and flavour and I think it shows more appreciation when they give ours.”
As well as a whole range of sweet treats, the shop, which is open seven days a week, sells sausage rolls, cheese scones, pies and coffees. Under the new Tier 3 restrictions, they’ll be able to remain open for takeout and, moving forward, are planning to offer a delivery service.