Sweet Perfections Celebrates Fondant ‘Ribbon Cutting’ at New Expanded Location
By Sweet Perfections Staff
Mayor Shawn Reilly, predicted “sweet success” for Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe’s new location at the grand opening celebration on Saturday, September 20. The event kicked off with an extraordinary ribbon cutting ceremony.
Together, owners Ken and Peggy Heil sliced through a red fondant ribbon curling over the top of three tiers and stretching across a 4 foot long custom designed butter cake filled with Sweet Perfections’ signature buttercream. The Heils wanted to do something a little different instead of a traditional ribbon cutting.
Hundreds of customers attended the event on Saturday and enjoyed a slice of the ribbon cutting cake as well as samples of Sweet Perfections products including miniature French pastries, almond florentines, and one of the bake shoppe’s many varieties of European tortes, Flamingo. Attendees had the opportunity to make a keepsake Flippin’ Fun Photo Book and enjoy music, games, and a coloring contest.
“We are truly grateful for the support from our customers and the community,” said Ken Heil. “Waukesha has been our home for over ten years and we look forward to being here for many years to come.”
Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe is a family owned and operated bake shop specializing in custom designed wedding cakes, specialty tortes, and European style pastries. As Sweet Perfections’ specialty is Wedding Cakes and Pastries, their Patent-Pending Signature “Cheez Torte” is a must try.
Owners Ken and Peggy Heil have been perfecting their sweet craft for over 30 years, not to mention their thriving passion for the best customer service in town.
Other decadent treats created by Sweet Perfections include gourmet filled cupcakes and donuts, delicately baked cheesecakes, specialty tarts, English scones, gourmet cookies, seasonal treats, and more. We invite you to experience pure cake and pastry indulgence.
Upscale Bakery Takes Business from Web to Waukesha
By Patrick Kearns • Waukesha Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA – Perfection is the name of the game when it comes to Ken and Peggy Heil’s new business, Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe. The veteran bakers, with 25 years of combined business experience, will soon open downtown Waukesha’s only dedicated bakery. Perfection is a priority: they compiled their recipes for 15 years, spent more than two years choosing the business name, a year hunting for the location and six weeks cleaning it from top to bottom. “We are such perfectionists, that’s why we chose the name,” said Peggy Heil.
Formerly Bread Baskets and More, the Barstow Street location near the recently demolished Walgreens was also home to the Bread Fountain. The Heils invested more than $160,000 to purchase the 1,500 square foot facility and its fully equipped kitchen, including walk-in coolers, ovens and 80-quart mixer. Bread Baskets and More closed in June after apparently experiencing financial difficulties, Ken Heil said. The new business will be unlike the 11 years of bread-making by its two predecessors. “We are a high-end cake and pastry shop… we don’t do doughnuts,” Ken Heil said.
The Donut Shoppe on Main Street will not be a competitor for Sweet Perfections “since they have a different business format,” said Tom Rinka, executive director of the Waukesha Business Improvement District. “They are experienced people, so we can look forward to quality products,” Rinka said. Panos Fruit and Meat Market owner Panos Assimakopoulos was pleased at the news of a new store. “They will bring in more business which is good for the neighborhood,” he said, adding “And they fix nice cake.” Also in the downtown is Rochester Deli, which makes deli sandwiches and cakes.
Ken Heil has been in the food service business for 24 years and first started baking at Mila’s Bakery in Thiensville, then at Sussex Sentry supermarket and finally landing at Crestwood Bakery in West Allis in 1992. Peggy Heil spent nine years as a cake decorator at Crestwood. “I have done it all from a mom and pop to large commercial production,” he said.
The two former Crestwood Bakery employees met while working as cake decorators at the West Allis company. In 1996 the bakery-based friendship turned to romance when Ken confirmed his feelings for Peggy. “She turned 20 shades of red,” he said. Six years later the couple began selling custom and wedding cakes from their home-based online business, www.sweetperfections.com. The business took off recently when people began chatting about their cakes on the wedding planning website, www.theknot.com.
“So many past clients used the knot’s chat room to talk positive about us,” Ken Heil said. The interest also brought a phone call from the president of www.theknot.com, and questions about the business, Ken Heil said. After hearing a pitch to buy advertising space on www.theknot.com - which claims to be the No. 1 wedding planning website – he politely said no. “With all the chat about us we didn’t need to,” Ken Heil said.
Officials at www.theknot.com could not be reached for comment. Sweet Perfections’ retail product list will nearly mirror its web product offerings to include everything from gourmet cookies and English scones to specialty cheesecakes, fresh pies and European tortes. The retail store will also offer crusty breads, croissants and Danish pastries. Specialty coffees by the cup will be available to go to energize weary customers. Job security was the impetus behind the Heils’ decision to leave Crestwood and start their own business.
“We saw job security being lost at Crestwood several years ago,” said Peggy Heil. “We saw it was time to move on.” The Crestwood Bakery brand was bought by Grebe’s Bakery of West Allis in August. The Heils say they will take good care of the two to four new employees they hire. “We know how to treat people, and how not to treat people,” Ken Heil said.
The business is slated to open Nov. 20.
Wedding Cake Makers Sweet on Confection Perfection
By Anne Schamberg • Special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It’s easy to imagine Ken Heil looking out from his glass-fronted bakery wishing he could rearrange the shops in downtown Waukesha. If only the buildings lined up as neatly as pastries in his display case. “I thought I was a perfectionist until I met Ken,” said Peggy Heil, co-owner of the aptly named Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe, which opened in November. Ken, who does most of the baking, focuses on the “visuals — the presentation” — as well as the taste of his pastries. He is a stickler about making sure his baked goods are consistent; he wants customers to know what to expect. “If your toffee pecan swirl looks wonderful today, my expectation is that it will look wonderful 180 days in a row. So when you place an order, that’s what you’re going to get, not anything less than that,” he said.
The 39-year-old baker makes a distinction between cooking and baking: “When you cook, (it’s) a little bit of this and a little bit of that — and then a little more of this. That’s expected and that’s where you can be creative. But in most aspects of baking, you have to be very precise, very exact. And that’s the challenge — the challenge is getting it perfect.” The bakery specializes in cakes and pastries and offers bread and foccacia. Special-order wedding cakes represent about 40% of the business. Sweet Perfections bakes 65 wedding cakes in 2004 and the Heils hope to double that number this year. Most of their towering confections are “cheez tortes,” the couple’s signature preparation, made from cheesecake, dark chocolate cake and raspberry preserves.
Peggy’s day job is with Aurora Behavioral Health, but she stops in at the bakery most evenings to “help with anything — closing down, decorating, prepping.” She handles bookkeeping and administrative tasks. It was during the mid-1990s, while both were working as cake decorators at the high-volume Crestwood Bakery in West Allis, that the couple met and fell in love. Before that, Ken, who has been in the food service industry since he was 15, worked at Mila’s, a smaller bakery in Thiensville.
In 2003, the Heils started a licensed bakery in their Town of Brookfield home. That’s when their wedding cake business got rolling. Last year they opened a freestanding retail shop at 918 N. Barstow St., in a building that has seen two bread store/bakeries come and go. Ken says he is confident Sweet Perfections won’t be No. 3. “People have a hard time finding a bakery to do what they want. We get all kinds of different requests — one was for a dragon on a wedding cake,” Peggy said. So far, Ken said, “business has been what we expected — very good.”
He and Peggy hope to have room someday for inside seating. They now have just one small table, used mostly for wedding cake consultations. “That’s what we would like to have, more of a bakery-cafe,” said Peggy. “We started in our home, now this is step number two — it’s baby steps along the way.”