Pennie's Bake Shop and Espresso Bar

    • ss duquesne pennie s bake shop and espresso bar
For many founders, passing on a much-loved business to their children is a dream come true. Pennie Wogan has lived that dream. Wogan made her first wedding cake for her sister-in-law in 1980. Comparing her growth to that of a snowball, she began taking more orders and increasing her product offerings, building a reputation in the Butler area as a premier baker, using only word of mouth to advertise. Coming highly recommended by the area’s top venues and vendors, she decided to strictly work on wedding, anniversary, and tiered rolled fondant cakes, making her work load more manageable and profitable.
However, in 2012, her son, Michael Bestwick, decided to join the family business and began training as a baker. With the addition of a second baker, sales again increased steadily, but still exceeded the capacity of their home-based kitchen. Wogan and Bestwick finally decided that an expansion to a commercial location was necessary and the next logical step for this family business.
They envisioned an ideal location busy with foot and motor traffic where they could offer a complete line of baked goods, increase catering, and offer an espresso bar where customers could relax and enjoy free wireless. A unique feature would be the decorating area in plain view of the showroom.
With this vision in mind, the mother and son sought financing, and assistance with the preparation of the required business plan and budget. In August 2012, Michael attended the “First Step: Business Startup Essentials” seminar held by the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Community Development Corporation of Butler County. Bestwick took the lead and met with an SBDC consultant, who sent him templates for the plan and projections, offered to have their Facebook page reviewed, and to connect him with another client in the coffee business to evaluate espresso machines and source of roasted beans.
Michael and his consultant began collaborating on the plan and developing financial projections. As the opening of the store grew closer, his consultant sent suggestions for a Grand Opening. In February 2013, a loan through Bridgeway Capital was approved and added to their own equity investment.
Michael and Pennie created a warm and inviting setting, and opened in August
2013. Shortly before the opening, Bestwick met with his consultant about setting up QuickBooks, deciding on information to capture from the POS system, reviewing financial statements, petty cash, inventory control and security measures.
Six months later Pennie’s is doing very well. Michael reports that the most challenging part of moving into a storefront was training employees. “Our crew members had many questions and required constant attention at first. It was challenging to manage our employees and complete our own tasks. But worth it!”