First Posted: 10/27/2012 3:43:00 PM | Last Updated: 10/27/2012 3:50:54 PM
WEST LAFAYETTE – Yes it’s been about a month since Jami Gold became the owner of Baker’s Peak Bakery & Café, at 1185 Sagamore Parkway, but she already knows one thing – she loves it.
“Things are going great,” Gold said. “It was extremely busy the first week but we made it through. We made some changes to make it run a little smoother, but it’s been going great.”
Baker’s Peak is a quaint bakery located in Bell Plaza, near the Yeager intersection. The bakery is one of those hidden gems with a loyal following in the midst of big box grocery store bakeries and chain stores. At Baker’s Peak, you will get Gold actually in the kitchen making her customer’s favorite pies, cakes and lunches.
“We’re a specialty bakery and we’re also a deli and café,” Gold said. “We have good and time-honored recipes in a small, intimate environment. Dee, my waitress, has been here for six years and people love her. That’s important to the customers we have people they know.”
Baker’s Peak is a dream come true for Gold. Gold and her husband, a computer engineer, were living in Texas before he started a job at Purdue Research Park. She went to work at Subaru. She said she quickly discovered that her heart was in baking and creating and left the job.
“I took a small business seminar in Kokomo in January,” Gold said. “Through the class, I talked with Pamela Miller, who owned Baker’s Peak, and I started to go about the process of buying the bakery. On September 27, it was mine. Everyone has been very supportive. I have tons of friends and family so supportive and helpful. I couldn’t ask for a better time in my life for this to happen.”
She said one of her challenges was to calm the fears of regular customers that all of their favorite bakery items would go away. From the carrot and cheese cakes to pies and Kaiser rolls, customers will be able find what they are looking for. Gold said she particularly enjoys creating wedding cakes and watching couples who see the creations of the first time.
“I put up a sign about the change in ownership,” Gold said “I told them I’m not changing things, but adding to Baker’s Peak. Everything is completely the same and I added a ton of items. For the most part, people have been positive and supportive.”
Gold grew up near Kokomo, graduated from Taylor High School and was studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University when she met her husband during a co-op in Iowa.
“At that time I wanted to see the world so I followed him to Texas where we lived for 10 years,” Gold said.
That’s where she sharpened her cooking skills, graduating from a culinary school in Austin while tending to children, ages six, four, and 2 ½.
She said the toughest part of the business is being out of the kitchen to deal with the budget and finances.
“I’m learning my limits dealing with finances,” said Gold, as she guides her eight employees. “I’m balancing what I have and what I want to do. I like being good to my employees and customers and I can’t do that all the time financially so I have to be careful.”
Gold said while she doesn’t want to lose Baker’s Peak home away from home feel, she can see herself expanding.
“This is a little gem to all the locals,” Gold said. “We’re offering a great product and I want to offer it to more in Lafayette and West Lafayette, maybe around the Creasy and State Route 26 area, and south Lafayette.
“I’d like to separate the bakery from the café and expand both. We’re limited in what we can do in our kitchen small. I would like to have a separate catering business that just does luncheon and events. We have a catering menu, but never been marketed very well. We’d also want to do delivery. My job is to make people happy. I can’t make everybody happy. I want to try to meet the customer’s needs today.”
That seems to be just the beginning for Gold at Baker’s Peak.