What: Foxtail Bakeshop

What it does: Makes desserts and wedding cakes

Owner: Nickol Hayden-Cady (pictured)

Employees: Five

Where: 735 NW Columbia St.

Contact: 541-213-2275

Website: www.foxtailbakeshop.com

Pastry chef Nickol Hayden-Cady is preparing to expand her wholesale and custom bakery to include a cafe serving breakfast, lunch and late-night desserts.

Foxtail Bakeshop and Kitchen is slated to occupy a space in the Box Factory at 550 SW Industrial Way in Bend, which is undergoing renovations that are scheduled to be complete early next year. The move from Foxtail’s standing-room-only space on NW Columbia Street will give Hayden-Cady a second chance to own a business with a direct tie to the dining public.

She opened Foxtail Bakeshop in fall 2014 as a small, retail dessert shop. By winter 2016-17, local restaurants Barrio and Jackson’s Corner were offering Hayden-Cady so much wholesale business, she decided to close her doors to walk-in traffic and focus on wholesale and custom orders.

Wedding cakes account for most of Foxtail’s business, and Hayden-Cady said she expects to make even more after relocating to the Box Factory, where she’ll have a larger staff and a walk-in cooler. When Hayden-Cady, 34, was a culinary student 13 years ago, she had no interest in making wedding cakes.

“I thought wedding-cake decorators didn’t know how to be pastry chefs,” she said. “Everyone back then used to use boxed cake mix and everything like that. I was like, ‘Ugh, gross.’ Shortening. Corn syrup. Just gross stuff.”

When she was working at the former Volo restaurant in Bend, Hayden-Cady agreed to make one wedding cake, as long as she could make it to her standards. She discovered a creative outlet, which she later turned into a small business. Foxtail makes about 125 wedding cakes a year, and Hayden-Cady said roughly 30 of those clients give her creative license.

The Bulletin talked to Hayden-Cady about her career in dessert making and moving from back-of-the-house positions to owner-operator. Her answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You landed your first executive pastry chef job as a high school student. How has that career prepared you for running your own shop?

A: I’ve been an executive pastry chef since I was 17. I’ve always done the books. I’ve always done scheduling. I’ve always done inventory. I’ve always done costing out. The one thing I had to learn was talking to customers, because I’ve always been back-of-the-house, and then listening to them. I’m still learning.

Q: Why did you want your own dessert shop?

A: Mainly because I wanted to do desserts the way I wanted to do desserts, and not the way a chef told me to do desserts, or an owner. When you’re a pastry chef, you’re definitely working for a chef, the executive chef, or the owner. Not the public.

Q: What’s your way?

A: Flavor combinations. Staying true to making it from scratch. Using butter, honey, vanilla beans, really beautiful chocolate. I’m going to make this lemon curd tart with thyme whipped cream. To some people, that’s weird. Just try it.

Q: How did you round up enough capital to expand Foxtail?

A: I’ve had a lot of people offer to be investors. When I told a couple people, ‘I’m actually expanding out a restaurant,’ they were like, ‘Oh, let us know how much you need.’ The terms they offered me were incredible. I had to see a lawyer. I was like, ‘There’s something wrong with this.’ I think a lot of people want to see me succeed. I think a lot of it is I work all the time. I’m definitely a working owner. I’m in here 16, 18-hour days. I think people respect that. It’s not like they’re giving money to someone who’s just an owner. I do the cookie dough. I scoop and I clean the dishes. I’ve never been afraid of work. No matter what, I’ll pay it back. I’ve never owed anyone money. That was hard for me.

Q: How will Foxtail survive the next downturn?

A: The main thing is just keep a smaller staff and just treat them well. Have higher expectations for them. Keep my food costs low. Whatever profit we make, just save it. I’m a huge saver.

Q: Where do you see the business five years from now?

A: My partner and I, which is my mother (Laura Hayden), we have no desire to open a second location, but our goal is to open another concept. We have ideas.

Q: Why do you think a fitness-oriented city like Bend supports so many bakeries?

A: They don’t have a lot of desserts. The bakeries have bagels and croissants. Those runners and those athletic people can treat themselves, then go on a run. I think a lot of people treat themselves here because they love life more. They’re willing to go on that hike for that cookie. I used to have customers that would run here, get a treat, and then run home.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com