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SBDC Success Story: Chimney Cakery

Chimney Cakery, owned and operated by husband and wife team Bill & Jen Ehninger, is a newly established boutique pop-up bakery specializing in handmade Eastern European pastries called Chimney Cakes. Bill and Jen learned of chimney cakes during their travels to Prague and Budapest, where they first experienced the irresistible aroma of fresh, sweet dough cooking over an open fire. They had never tasted a dessert quite like it in Pittsburgh and knew right away that they wanted to share this delicious experience with their hometown. After traveling to Kurtos Academy in Murska Sobota, Slovenia to learn the art and become certified chimney cake bakers, Chimney Cakery was born.

As a new business, Bill and Jen have jumped right into the excitement of being mobile and can be
found popping up all over the South Hills of Pittsburgh through farmers’ markets and specialty festivals.
Just as they expected, their customer experience has been delightful. Patrons are interested in learning
about chimney cakes and their history, kids love watching the cakes come to life, and everyone is drawn
to the delightful fragrances from sweet to savory.

chimney cake

Bill and Jen first learned of the University of Pittsburgh SBDC in the Fall of 2017. They scheduled their first one-on-one consulting appointment to share their business idea and seek general startup assistance. After their initial conversation with their consultant, they understood what steps they needed to take in order to be prepared to make the commitment, both personally and professionally, to becoming business owners. Over the last few years, Bill and Jen have continued to work on suggested next steps
such as market research, business plan development, price structuring, and website/social media development. Their hard work, preparation, and commitment paid off when they were able to celebrate their official launch by selling out at their second farmer’s market of the season!

Chimney Cakery will continue work with their consultant at the Pitt SBDC on a regular basis to evaluate business operations, review sales goals, and optimize online performance. Given the initial reaction from customers as well as the commitment displayed by Bill and Jen, the SBCD has no doubt Chimney Cakery has found their niche and will have continued success.