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Wrightberry's tasty business expands

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Jan Wright, co-owner of Wrightberry's bakery, spent more than six hours decorating this Halloween cake.Wrightberry’s bakery in downtown Oregon City is cooking up a little bigger recipe for the future.

The bakery says business is so good that its owners have expanded into the space next door.

Customers will be able to select a cupcake or cookie and have a beverage, and shop for gift items in the new, larger space.

There’s also a big selection of specialty and custom cakes for customers.

Wrightberry’s is owned by Jan Wright, the designer and decorator, her husband, Tom, and their daughter, Christi Ross, the pastry chef.

It was a home-based business for 12 years, Jan Wright said, but two years ago the family decided to move into a storefront, so they found a location at 820 Main St. in Oregon City.

They chose the name, Wright said, because she and her father built the Berry Hill Shopping Center in the early 1990s, so a combination of her last name and a nod to the shopping center resulted in Wrightberry’s.

Her daughter graduated from Western Culinary Institute, and when all her friends started getting married, she asked her mother to help her make wedding cakes.

“I’ve always loved art, so I learned sugar work from a lady from England when I took a few classes, but mostly I am self-taught,” Wright said.

Wrightberry’s wedding cake sales have increased 30 percent, and they are already booking weddings for 2013, she said.

“We are the preferred vendor for the Abernethy Center and for the Ainsworth House and Gardens,” Wright said.

The Arch Bridge has played a role in their business.

“We opened two months before the bridge closure and then expanded into the space next door on Oct. 9, just in time for the bridge re-opening,” Wright said.

Wrightberry’s made the bridge commemorative cake that was 30 inches by 40 inches.

Handmade fondant

At first, Wrightberry’s focused on cakes, but once the business moved into downtown, and they had foot traffic, the owners decided to expand into making cupcakes and big cookies.

The cupcakes come in two sizes — the “Wrighteous,” the standard size, and the “Little Guys,” the two-bite size.

“What sets our cupcakes apart from others is that they are really moist and we fill them, even the little guys,” Wright said.

As for the cakes, the handmade sugar flowers and other motifs appeal to the eye as well as to the taste buds.

“We hand-make our fondant and flavor it to match our buttercream frosting. Fondant is just sugar and some binders and flavoring,” Wright said, noting that when she rolls out the fondant, it is almost fabric like and she can even quilt it.

“Fondant seals the cake, and you cannot beat the look of it,” she added.

Grimmmonster

As for Wrightberry’s brush with fame, Wright said that earlier in the year she was contacted by the governor’s Oregon film office and asked to make a cake for the cast and crew of the fantasy-like TV show “Grimm,” as they celebrated the filming of the second season in Portland.

To showcase the theme of the show, Wright said she made a sugar “monster” for the cake, which Governor John Kitzhaber playfully stabbed in half, as the photos were being taken on the set.

“I gulped,” she said. “It took me five hours to make that monster.”

But losing the monster was lightened by the fact that she and her family met all the actors associated with “Grimm,” including Ed Asner.

Prior to the “Grimm” event, she baked University of Oregon-themed cupcakes, which were put on a Nike jet and flown to the Rose Bowl. Wright and her family did not get to accompany the cupcakes, she noted.

One of the shop’s biggest promotional events is coming in January, Wright said, when she will attend the Portland Bridal Show, showcasing cake displays and handing out samples.

For now, Wright and her family just want people to come to the shop on Main Street and eat cupcakes and cookies and drink Happy Rock coffee, from the Happy Rock Coffee Co. in Gladstone.

“We will have more retail gift items, and we are expanding our occasion cakes,” Wright said. “Everyone likes something fun.”

Fast Facts

Wrightberry’s Cakes and Cupcakes, 820 Main St., Suite C, 503-344-4946.

Visit the website at: wrightberryweddingcakes.com.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cupcake flavors include: German chocolate, salted caramel, peanut butter cup, chocolate fudge, white chocolate with raspberry, red velvet and more. Cookie choices include: snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip, death by chocolate, chocolate fudge haystacks and caramel nut bars.



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