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Aimee’s Vanilla Bean Bakery in Selma

IN THE June 24 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andFood Fun
SECTIONS

by Destiney Warren

When Aimee’s Vanilla Bean Bakery opened in 2014, it was some of the biggest news in Selma…we are a relatively small town so new businesses are exciting! Since then Aimee’s has stayed a staple in the downtown that has welcomed some new businesses and said farewell to others. Situated on the corner of McCall and High Street, it’s one of the first storefronts you see when entering the downtown. The friendly window decorations and writing that states “Cupcakes” with a heart and then “Candy” invites you in to indulge or to satisfy a craving.

The owner of Aimee’s Vanilla Bean Bakery, Aimee Wilson, chatted with me about how she became a bakery owner. Like most life stories hers was not always set in stone. When I asked her if she had always known she wanted to be a baker, she said no: “I didn’t always know I wanted to be a baker. I was very indecisive when I was younger and couldn’t decide what to pursue. I took a few cake decorating classes for fun, so I could make my own cakes for my kids. It was a hobby that turned into my job.” She had previously worked for a cake shop in Fresno before opening her business here.

One of Aimee's cakes

One of Aimee’s cakes

I also asked her how she decided that she wanted to own her own business. Owning a business is not always the easiest of lifestyles, and I was interested in what encouraged her to start one. She said that she knew she wanted to start a business of her own when she was working at a different cake shop, but that it was something she thought would happen later when her children were grown up. However, the chance was given to her earlier, and she says, “The opportunity came to me one day by surprise. I couldn’t pass it up.” She decided to take the leap and open here in Selma because, one, there had been a previous cupcake shop, but the owner was ready to move on and offered Aimee the chance to take over. She also decided to open in Selma because the rent in Selma is fairly low, and there isn’t much competition for cake businesses. That’s something she encourages those who are looking to start their own business to pay attention to: “My suggestion to anyone looking to open a business would be to do research before making your decision. Find a place that is affordable, and find out who your competitors are, and offer something that they don’t, to make yourself stand out.” aimeescupcakes2

While the low rent and relatively low competition was the reason that Aimee started her business in Selma, it’s the small town feel that has made her enjoy her time here. She says, “I like running my business in Selma because it is still a small town. A lot of people here have lived here for a very long time. I get a lot of regular customers that I’ve gotten to know, and I really enjoy that.” Besides offering cupcakes and cakes she also offers cinnamon rolls and coffee in the mornings Monday-Wednesday which gives her even more of a chance to connect with the community—and it’s a community that loves her bakery. Almost all of the reviews on her the bakery’s Facebook page are positive, ranging from “amazing” to “can’t get enough of this place.”

While Aimee clearly loves her business, she doesn’t shy away from the fact that there are hard parts to being a business owner as well. When I asked her what the hardest part about owning a business was she said that it can be a little overwhelming at times. “Being a business owner is hard because it’s so much work. I have to balance my work and family life, and also keep on top of trends, try to keep a consistent and quality product every time, manage employees, keep a detailed schedule, pay all my fees for licenses and insurance, payroll, rent, and hope that I get to make money for myself, too, all while trying to keep a reasonable price for my customers.” While she acknowledges the hard parts of owning your own business, she also suggests that those who are looking to become bakers not be afraid to try. She says, “Don’t underestimate yourself, and never panic when something goes wrong because it will only make it worse. You also cannot expect to please every customer, so don’t get down on yourself when someone isn’t happy with your work.” (Though based on Aimee’s customer reviews on Facebook she seems to have pleased the majority of them.) aimeescupcakes

I asked Aimee what she would like her customers to know about her bakery and she said, “The most important thing for my customers to know about my business is that it is mostly a custom bakery. We don’t have a huge selection of items all the time that are readily available. Most things need to be ordered. We make our cakes by order from scratch, in small batches, for the best quality. That being said, we do make a lot of custom items, including cake pops, cookies, decorated sugar cookies, pies, cheesecake, dipped strawberries, and even candy and dessert displays.” They also have the cinnamon rolls, mentioned above, and gourmet cupcakes to choose throughout the day.

Finally, I asked Aimee the most important question, what her favorite kind of cupcake or cake to bake is. Her answer? The ones with the filling. “My favorite cake flavors are the ones with fruit fillings. Probably the strawberry, and the BlackBerry cupcake are my favorites.” With that being said, I can’t wait to go try some cinnamon rolls and a BlackBerry cupcake the next time I get a craving for something sweet.

Aimee’s Vanilla Bean Bakery can be found at 1920 High St. in Selma, California and you can “like” them on Facebook.

Destiney Warren is a recent graduate from Fresno State with a B.A. in English. If she’s not reading, she’s sleeping.

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