Bedford baker takes cupcakes on the roadBy SIMÓN RÍOS
Union Leader Correspondent
June 06. 2012 11:22PM
BEDFORD - A local baker who decided to go mobile is now hoping to go viral through her use of social media.
Cupcake maker Jenny Cheifetz, owner of the Bedford company Gone Baking, bought a van earlier this year to take her baked goods on the road. Emblazoned on the side are the logos of Facebook and Twitter-and though she only began in April, it's already starting to pay off.
'It's bizarre,' said Cheifetz, who cooks out of the kitchen of her Bedford home. 'Last week I did visit a couple locations in Manchester, and someone, a complete stranger, saw the van and posted on Twitter. Apparently this stranger mentioned the van on Twitter, saying she saw this bakery van go by - how great, how do I find her?' Cheifetz said she hadn't been checking Twitter, mainly because her Facebook page is set to automatically feed to Twitter. But a common friend of Cheifetz and the mystery Tweeter saw the post and offered to put the two in touch.
'And then all of a sudden two days later I was at her party bringing cupcakes,' she said. 'The whole six degrees of separation doesn't exist anymore, or it's two degrees with social media.'
Cheifetz started in 2009 with her company The Sugar Mommy. She baked out of her kitchen, taking orders not just for the cupcakes, cookies and chocolate-dipped pretzels that she offers now, but also for a range of cakes and breads.
But it was too much for her. She had opted not to work outside of the home so she could be around her family, and it wasn't working out that way.
'I contemplated the idea of a shop and researched that extensively,' she said. 'It was going to be very expensive and probably a whole lot more work than I could even imagine.'
One day her husband, Amherst dentist Andrew Cheifetz, floated the notion of a baker's truck. Cheifetz thought it was a joke, and months would pass before the idea became appealing to her.
'When I started to meet with some really experienced professionals - lawyers, accountants, business advisors - and they were telling me just how challenging a store would be and what it would take for me to pay my bills, the idea of a food truck was so much more practical.'
She started searching for a truck, and Craigslist was full of all sorts of food-ready vehicles. But most had more amenities than necessary - frialators, stovetops, etc. - when all she needed was running water and a refrigerator.
As part of her research Cheifetz interviewed a mobile baker in Lebanon, which would prove to be a 'bizarre twist of fate.' Though her website was still up, the woman had decided to close up shop and was selling her truck.
'It got the ball rolling, because all of a sudden a lot of the work was done,' Cheifetz said. 'I didn't have to go find the van. I didn't have to outfit the van. The big stuff was taken care of.'
She was also selling all types of equipment that Cheifetz needed, and by Mothers Day, Gone Baking was on the road.
She said the regulations and ordinances related to selling food out of a truck have been difficult to navigate. 'The street vending part of it is taking a little more time, but the private parties, the special orders and corporate events, that's doing well.'
Gone Baking offers a tremendous range of cupcakes, from Mountain of Mint to Cuckoo for Coconut, to Get a Load of This, which consists of chocolate cake filled with chocolate chip cookies topped with vanilla buttercream and a chunk of loaded chocolate chip cookie.
Her website is at gonebaking.com and, of course, fans can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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Simon Rios may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.