Shannon and Gilles Gaudet have owned Cakes and More in the East Court Mall since 2003. They sold the bakery in August, nearly two decades after opening, but you’ll still see their friendly faces around. They plan to stay on full-time for a year or two to help with the transition before taking on a more part-time role.
Mahfuja and Ripon Ahmed (known as Sammy and Ricky) are the new couple taking over but they want customers to know that Cakes and More will remain mostly the same as always. Ricky and his family moved to Cornwall from Ottawa 8 years ago for business, and own one of the local Esso gas stations. They have two children.
“I came in to order a cake for my daughter on her first birthday. The cake turned out to be good and I’m not a big cake guy,” Ricky recalled, “Next thing I know I’m emailing, ‘Hi, is this a franchise, are you willing to sell?’ We sat down and closed the deal right here in the back.”
Although Ricky is a co-owner, he says his wife is mostly running the show with Gilles and Shannon.
“I love it. This is my type of work. I always had interest in cake making and decorating, always wanted to do a course and never got a chance. When I came here, I learned from scratch, and I think I’m doing good. I basically learned what Gilles and Shannon have done for the last 20 years – I’m just following in their footsteps,” said Sammy.
Sammy and Ricky have plans to grow the business, so they have hired some new staff, but the old team is still there. A future goal of theirs is to expand the menu and maybe even open some express locations in other areas of the city.
“This would be our prime, flagship store if we do expand which we do have plans for. We would have express locations, but this would be our main hub,” explained Ricky, “Nothing will change in terms of what is available. We might add to that but everything else stays so whatever you bought on holidays we will still have that on holidays. Soups, sandwiches, and all other offerings will all stay on.”
Looking back, former owners Gilles and Shannon turned their passion and hard work into a very successful business.
“I was a supervisor for Loblaws, and my wife was a cake decorator at Baxtrom’s and I said, ‘You know what, instead of us making them money why don’t we do it?’ We bought ettawise bakery and that’s how it started. A lot of people said we weren’t going to make it … well my experience and my wife’s experience, I knew we were going to do it,” said Gilles.
“After 18 years I still have a cleaning business on the side and you know what I think, we work 6 days a week 14-hour days. We were not tired, but it was an opportunity to sell. And we sold to a young couple and very nice people,” added Gilles.
Shannon agreed, “We couldn’t have sold it to a better couple, they just fit in here.”
Since taking over the business, rebranding, and advertising on Facebook the new couple has grown Cakes and More’s Facebook following by thousands and attracted many new customers to the shop.
“Though we are the new owners the previous owners are with us, so now we are double powered with the previous owners and new energy. Whoever hasn’t tried us, they should try us,” Sammy added.
Nadean Lefave, who has been with Cakes and More for six years, shared that the transition to new ownership has been going smoothly. “It’s wonderful. Its going very nice. Ricky and Sammy are awesome, Gilles and Shannon are awesome. Everything is going beautifully. It’s a great job to have and they’re great people to work for – both couples,” she told Seaway News.
Kristie Levine, who has been with Cakes and more for seven years, agreed, “It’s a good group of people working here, a good environment. It’s definitely a nice place to work. Sammy and Ricky are very lovely people, they’re doing their best to make sure everybody is happy and being heard.”