DC Sweet Potato Cake sprouts up in Hyattsville: Bakery to (re)open on Rt. 1
BY KIT SLACK — A bakery cafe is coming this fall to the storefront immediately north of Pizza Paradiso. Delectable Cakery, now a wholesale provider of DC Sweet Potato Cake to retailers including Wegmans, Safeway, Starbucks and, soon, Walmart will be opening a flagship retail store in Hyattsville.
Co-owner April Richardson says she is planning a rooftop deck and a business that “opens early and closes late.” She says the cafe will be “adult focused;” kids will be welcome, but it will be a better place for a date than for a kid’s birthday party.
Richardson and her business partner, Derek Lowery, are particularly pleased to be opening the bakery in Hyattsville on Route 1, since Lowery had to make the painful decision to shutter the doors of his original retail bakery just down the road on Route 1 in Mount Rainier.
Delectable Cakery represents “the American experience” according to Richardson. “I say that because our company has fallen on hard times and has found a way to stand up a little stronger every time.” The company’s story began in the Portland, Ore., home kitchen of Laurine Helen Lowery, who taught her son Derek to bake from a young age. Derek Lowery, a founder of Delectable Cakery, started out selling sweet potato cakes made according to the family recipe out of the back of his car at churches in New York and DC.
Richardson describes herself as a business lawyer with a reputation for helping struggling small businesses. In 2012, that reputation led fans of the bakery to seek out her assistance at a chance meeting at the Hyattsville Busboys and Poets. She recalls as a turning point a 2012 conversation during which she convinced the bakery’s landlord, then in Landover Hills, not to evict the bakery — in exchange for Richardson’s commitment to remain personally involved. Since then, the bakery has greatly expanded its wholesale business through partnerships with large national retailers.
Most recently, Delectable Cakery won a contract to supply Walmart beginning in the third quarter of 2018. Ms. Richardson projects that the Walmart contract will lead to a fourfold increase in production, without taking into account sales at the new Hyattsville bakery.
Delectable Cakery anticipates hiring about twelve employees for the cafe alone, according to Richardson. She is looking at partnering with Prince George’s County to hire and provide job training for veterans and formerly incarcerated individuals.
Catering to the tastes of locavores, Richardson is sourcing locally made tables and candles and will feature local products, including books by area authors. While most of the baked goods served will be from Delectable Cakery, Richardson is excited about featuring the baked goods of other local artisanal bakers.
Some of Delectable Cakery’s renovations were partially funded through the Hyattsville Commercial Facade Improvement Program. The building’s owner, Demers Real Estate, received grants to help pay for a new roof and gooseneck lighting, among other improvements, according to City Administrator, Jim Chandler.
Chandler described Delectable Cakery as “a startup that has grown incredibly fast.” While still going through the permitting process, it will soon be “ready to rock and roll.” Richardson anticipates that the bakery cafe’s doors will open towards the end of October.