By Andrew Shortall
12:36 PM PST, December 17, 2012
It was just the perfect fit.
That's why Nothing Bundt Cakes co-Founder Dena Tripp decided to bring her company, which franchised a few years ago, to 16622 Beach Blvd., Suite 102 in Huntington Beach, just a few miles from her hometown of Fountain Valley.
She and her husband, Blaine, both graduated from Fountain Valley High School.
"There was only one choice in my mind as to where the perfect bakery would be and that was Beach Boulevard," said Tripp, who moved to Las Vegas to start a family and her business in the late 1990s. "It was just really a no brainer [to open a store in there] due to the fact I have so much experience and knowledge of that marketplace."
It made so much sense to bring Nothing Bundt Cakes to Huntington Beach — the store opened in late November — Tripp decided to buy into the store as a co-owner, along with her husband, Blaine Tripp, and business partner Heather Maestas, who operates the location on a day-to-day basis.
Maestas packed up and moved from Las Vegas to run her own store, which was a dream of hers. She served as the business' director of training, teaching franchisees how to run their own store.
"When I was out there doing that I was watching them do what I loved about it," said now Huntington Beach resident Maestas. "The business part is good but it was the playing bakery part that was fun and making the guests happy with cake that I loved."
If asked 15 years ago, Tripp wouldn't have believed she'd be opening a business near her hometown. The former court reporter and banker had no background in running a business or even much in baking, but that didn't stop her from teaming up with Debra Shwetz, co-founder of Nothing Bundt Cakes.
Shwetz had no real baking or business management experience, either, but she did have a delicious butter cream-cheese frosting that when paired with Tripp's light and fluffy bundt cake was too good to deny. When the duo realized that, they worked six months to perfect their creation before opening two bakeries in Las Vegas.
"I brought the cake, she brought the frosting and it was just kind of ground breaking in her kitchen," said Tripp, adding she and Shwetz came up for the business model when they realized there were no quality bakeries in Las Vegas.
Franchising wasn't in the plans for Nothing Bundt Cakes early on, but the company just kept growing and spreading in 2006.
"We really never thought franchising was going to be our angle," Tripp said. "It's one of those things where you're not satisfied with one so you get two and then you get three. … it just kind of went from there."
Today, the company's stores are half bakery, half boutique — or "bundtique" — stores with quirky gifts for sale.
If there's one thing Nothing Bundt Cakes is known for it's bundt cakes, obviously. They're made fresh daily with real eggs, butter and cream cheese, according to its website. The cakes are available in a variety of sizes, from bite-sized "bundtinis," to single serving "bundtlets" to larger 8-, 10-inch and double-tiered cakes. They also come in 10 different flavors from chocolate chocolate chip and white chocolate raspberry to red velvet and cinnamon swirl.
Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce Marketing and Communications Director Marilee Movius got a taste of the cakes at the store's ribbon cutting on Nov. 29.
"I hadn't had a bundt cake in a long time," Movius said.
That's something Tripp and Shwetz were counting on when they decided to make the bundt cake their specialty in 1997 — where else do you get a good bundt cake?
"That's one reason why we chose it," Tripp said. "We wanted to do something that was unique. Everyone can bake sheet cake, everyone can bake a round cake but that just puts us in the same category as everyone else. We wanted to really create something that was different and unique."