David Conway and co-owner Owen Davis
Shawnee, Okla. – DC Cake Appeal, Inc. is unique, and that is how owner, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal member, David Conway and co-owner Owen Davis want it to be perceived.
The name itself says cake appeal, and judging by their return customers, their products certainly do. Baking cakes was the initial focus when they began their business in 2006 out of their home in Prague, Okla. A colleague of Davis’ asked if he would bake a cake for her because he had been in the baking industry and taught classes at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee, Okla. One request became two, and then word of mouth got out about how delicious the cakes were.
Cakes were not all they wanted to delve into though. Starting small and working their way up, Conway and Davis went one step at a time and were able to build their establishment to what it is today.
In 2007, they moved from Prague to Shawnee, operating out of a store that only had about 1,000 square feet of space.
“There was no seating room,” recalled Conway. “Customers just placed their order or stopped by and picked up their sweet treats.”
By 2009, the businesses’ success resulted in them outgrowing that first Shawnee location. With the help of Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, they were able to secure a new location that doubled their square footage.
“Without the help of CDC I’m not sure we would have been able to continue on as successfully as we have,” stated Davis.
After opening this space they were able to introduce lunch items to their menu and hire more staff to help with customers. They also began catering small events.
Conway and Davis also created an employee handbook they give to each of their employees when they start. The co-owners ensure that each of their employees know that customer satisfaction is number one priority at their monthly staff meetings.
“The customers are our best asset. We ensure our customers are happy and we know they will return again. Being good to our customers creates an ambiance of satisfaction around everyone and the work place,” Conway stated.
Conway is trying to make the work place enjoyable for him and his workers.
Conway and Davis came to Bob Crothers at Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation again in 2012 with another expansion idea.
“We always know we can count on Bob to help us. He is very knowledgeable and always willing to help work out the details of a new idea with us,” Conway said.
The space they were looking to expand in was located on a major highway in Shawnee and would double their square footage and employee base again. The grand opening for DC Cake Appeal on Acme Road and Highway 177 took place in January 2013, and the small business has been able to add many new amenities because of this extra space.
DC Cake Appeal now has room for company meetings in a private room located in the back of the store. A local art gallery, Slanted Easel, holds monthly group painting events there while the expanded space allows Conway and Davis to host wedding rehearsal dinners. The kitchen is also large enough to cater events they previously would have had to turn down in their previous locations.
Davis and Conway aren’t just stuck in the kitchen at their new location though. They also sell fresh baked goods at the Pottawatomie County Farmers Co-Op Market every Wednesday and Saturday.
“Anytime we want to try something new we have the employees and our families try it before we put it on the menu. We are always thinking of new ideas because we want our restaurant to be fresh and want customers to wonder what we are going to come up with next,” said Conway.
DC Cake is open Tuesday thru Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch served until 3 p.m. Saturday’s they are open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Their DC Club with potato salad and a sweet tea is a recommendation from this author. But if you don’t like onions, I would not recommend the potato salad but any of their sides are delicious as well. DC Cake Appeal has weekly specials on their Facebook page at DC Cake Appeal. Go check out their unique style for food and try one of Davis’ own baked goods while you are there.
The Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation helped fund both transition spaces for DC Cake Appeal. The CPCDC is a lender to Native American-owned businesses across Oklahoma and the United States. If you are seeking a loan to help build your business like DC Cake Appeal or would like to inquire about a business loan please call 405-878-4697 or visit our website at www.cpcdc.org.