Kyra’s Bake Shop just won a Totally Awesome Award for being the “Sweetest Cake Shop” in Portland. We recently spoke to the owner, Kyra Bussanich, about her experience as a business owner, the best advice she has ever received and more. Hear what she had to say below!
Red Tricycle: Your community recently voted you “Sweetest Cake Shop in Portland” – what do your customers value most about your business?
Kyra Bussanich: We strive to offer flavorful treats that are absolutely delicious—and happen to be gluten-free! We really like to balance the exotic with the familiar, so there is something to appeal to EVERYONE (and for those who have food allergies, we have plenty of options!)
RT: What do you want people to know about your business that they don’t already know?
KB: EVERYTHING is made from scratch, from our soups and salad dressing to our ice cream, breads and jams.
RT: How did your business get started and what was the motivation?
KB: I was super sick when I was in my teens and early 20s. I was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but none of the meds made a lick of difference in how I felt. I got fed up with always feeling terrible (I spent MONTHS curled up on the couch, too sick to do anything). When the doctors wanted to take out the most diseased portions of my intestines, I finally put my foot down and started exploring a gluten-free lifestyle, if only to reduce the inflammation enough that I WOULD respond to the meds. Within a year, I was completely off all my medications, which meant no more chemotox infusions, no more blood panels to make sure my brain and liver functions were still normal…and best of all, no more pain! I started getting my life back, and that’s when I realized that there wasn’t anything out there that was both gluten-free and a treat. I eventually grew tired of always having to sit apart at holidays and birthday celebrations because I couldn’t have that slice of Thanksgiving pie, or birthday cake. Feeling excluded is no fun, so I set out to change that, for me, and for anyone else out there who has dietary restrictions. My primary goal, though, wasn’t to create a line of gluten-free recipes; it was to create absolutely delicious pastries and savories that ANYONE would be happy to eat, and they would just happen to be gluten-free (or GF, DF; etc).
RT: Tell us, what do you start your morning with: 1. coffee 2. tea 3. mimosa 4. water 5. all of the above.
KB: Coffee with cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and heavy whipping cream.
RT: What is the most awesome thing a customer has ever done for you?
KB: Dropped off a flat of fresh Bing Cherries for me to play with! (I made paleo pop tarts!)
RT: What is your biggest pet peeve as a business owner?
KB: When people forget that mom and pop shops have to do things a little differently than the huge box chains. We don\’t get the same price breaks on ingredients, and we often are pouring our heart and soul into the business, just trying to find a way where we can both nourish our guests and take good care of them, but also be able to take care of our staff.
RT: How do you keep your stress levels down?
KB: I love to dance!
RT: What’s your secret superhero power as a business owner?
KB: I have a phenomenal memory and can recognize and remember our guests a year after I first meet them!
RT: Tell us, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received (as a parent or business owner)?
KB: Remember your WHY. The thing that made you want to start your business is the same thing that will keep you going when you\’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. You just have to remember.
RT: How about the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
KB: Be quick to fire. I don’t ever like to just write people off. Many times, there is a reason for why they act the way they do, and a little caring and sympathy can go a long way to solving challenges.
RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?
KB: Let me talk to my team and see what we can do!
Check out their website here
photo credit: Modern Moments Designs and Courtney Jade Photography