It really doesn’t seem possible that it’s been four decades since we opened the doors of our bakery shop on Park Avenue in Oakwood. Back then, when we got the keys and started to see things take shape, it was a dream finally come to life. Little did we know, the following 40 years would be the real dream: creating a thriving business in a community we love so dearly.
We are forever grateful for your continued support. Without you, none of this would be possible.
We took a little time away, as we always do every summer, to recharge and reconnect with our family. As some may know, a baker’s hours aren’t always the easiest, but we love what we do and we cherish being able to have a business that we love, and we are thankful to be able to take some time off each summer to spend uninterrupted time with those we love.
We’ve been asked before “What’s your secret?” “How do you do it?” There isn’t a magic ingredient, but we believe there are some common things that we believe are absolutely necessary in any recipe for success.
1. Loyalty. One of our favorite things about this business is our customers. Our customers come back year after year, celebration after celebration, holiday after holiday, choosing Ashley’s to help celebrate life deliciously. Customers here become family. We see them bring their kids in on a Saturday morning, often in pajamas, sometimes with messy bedheads, to pick out donuts. Those same families come back to Ashley’s again and again, and before we know it, we’re baking cakes for those same children as they reach life milestones like First Communion, graduation, and oftentimes, marriage. The loyalty of our customers has made this possible. The loyalty of our staff has made it possible, too. We are lucky to have employees that come to work here and stay here. They learn the routines and the recipes, and they stick with us through high times and low points. Our employees are dedicated, kind, loyal and they understand a key component of our bakery business – customer service. We want to make our customers happy – it’s what keeps them coming back – and this wouldn’t be possible without the loyalty of our employees, too.
2. Adaptability. A lot happens in 40 years. Trends come and go. The economy endures different cycles. Technology advances rapidly. And sometimes, pandemics hit. Being adaptable is crucial when you’re running a business, and you must be nimble as years pass. We’ve been able to adjust when necessary, especially during times like the COVID-19 pandemic. During unprecedented times, we knew we had to do things differently – we had to adjust. We started accepting Venmo and PayPal for seamless payments so folks could place orders over the phone, we offered curbside delivery so we could pass our pastries to customers with little contact, but still get them what they needed.
3. Relevant. Similar to being adaptable, we know how vital it is to stay relevant. In today’s fast, ultra-busy world, we know there is a lot of competition out there, not just competing for our time, but for our attention, our energy, our time. We know we have to stay relevant to stay open. We keep our customers’ needs at top of mind, so we are able to make adjustments to help meet their needs. Over the years, we’ve modified the offerings in our cases to meet the needs of customers. Today you’ll find a wide range of delicious sweet treats, breads, rolls, pastries – we have something for everyone – and we’ve added gluten free options to our menu to be more inclusive for customers with food sensitivities. We stay on top of bakery trends, especially in the wedding industry, so we can offer brides and grooms advice on what’s in, and to be able to offer what they need (A donut buffet instead of a classic cake? Absolutely! Towers of cupcakes instead of one towering cake? Sure!) By staying relevant to the needs of customers today, we’ve been able to serve customers for decades.
4. Community. It’s hard to build and maintain a business all by yourself. We are forever grateful for the Miami Valley community and their continued support of us. All of this wouldn’t be possible if we were going at it alone. We treasure the partnerships we have with local restaurants, businesses, schools and universities, and nonprofit organizations. We truly believe we are better together, and it’s an honor and a privilege for us to provide the pastries at annual fundraising events in town, or to know our rolls are served in the bread baskets at some of the finest restaurants in the Dayton area. We love being able to work with others in this great community, and we know how vital these relationships and partnerships are to our business.
5. Passion. Our passion for this business is one reason the doors at the bakery have remained open for 40 years. We absolutely love what we do. We love the basic mechanics of baking – following the recipes, kneading the dough, icing the cakes. We love the basics of business – networking with others in the community, brainstorming ideas, marketing and promoting our products. But what we love the most is you, our customers and friends who have become family to us over the years. You keep us coming back again and again. You inspire us to be creative in our baking. You make this enjoyable job even better. Our passion for Ashley’s Pastry Shop is really a passion for you.
This post originally appeared on Ashley’s Pastry website and was written by owner Theresa Hammon and is reprinted with her permission.
Ashley’s Pastry Shop
Dayton, OH, 45419