Baking had always been a childhood dream for Mindy Simmons. Since the age of five, she constantly crafted delicious confections from the oven and pretended she had a restaurant, running into her parents' room in the morning to show them little menus she wrote herself.
Although her parents had originally steered her away from her passion to find a more safer option to make a living, Simmons' dream is finally being realized in the form of a new spot for her retail bakery and café.
Decadent Creations Bakery was born in 2010 in Portland, and is the result of Simmons' lifelong passion for baking and unwillingness to compromise freshness and quality as a stubborn employee at many other bakeries in town.
"I worked at a lot of different spots [and] figured out what I liked and what I didn't like," she said. "I often had conflicts with my bosses about things like keeping éclairs out for too long."
The bakery currently sells in five different Portland area farmers markets, New Seasons Market stores and a few small coffee shops.
After high school, Simmons attended Portland Community College, working part time as a bank teller. She was trying to figure out what she wanted to with her life. She was forever changed when she experienced a rock-bottom month when she was fired from her job, dumped by her high school boyfriend and failed several of her courses.
"One morning I woke up, and I spontaneously signed up for culinary school," she said. "From 2005 to 2006 I went to Western Culinary School, now called Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland."
In 2009, she started to make appearances at the Hillsboro Tuesday Night and Beaverton Wednesday markets, working to introduce patrons to her baked goods. Simmons rented kitchen space and baked all night. One summer saw her working every day, between making her own creations and whatever baking shop she worked in at the time.
It wasn't long before she and her husband bought a house in Aloha. It was there where they set up a commercial kitchen for Simmons to work in.
"I've always had good luck and people just seem to come out of the woodwork to help me," she said. "I have an uncle with a successful software development company. He needed to invest in something, so he bought the new space we're going to be at in Hillsboro."
Simmons bakes cakes, cookies, French macarons, salty dog brownies (a best seller), homemade breads and more.
She's been fine-tuning her recipes for years. With the new space, she's ready to implement some new items, like zucchini fritters, homemade pickles and cucumber key sandwiches.
Pastries cost around $2 and sandwiches are $6.50. Sides like deviled eggs and herbed potato salad clock in at around $3.
Simmons isn't trying to copy the Starbucks model — there will be no espresso machine — but she will proudly serve Water Avenue coffee. On the banks of the Willamette River in Portland's southeast industrial district, the roasting company, founded by industry pioneers, began roasting artisan coffees in the winter of 2009.
Simmons' favorite thing to bake by far are children's birthday cakes.
"I've had kids where I've made every birthday cake in their life," she said. "The families will come by and I bake them a cake for their favorite cartoon that year or something. It's a great way to connect with the community … they really trust me."
The newly remodeled historic property at 171 N.E. Third Ave. will open its doors on Saturday, June 10. The shop hours are Wednesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The grand opening will feature doorbuster prizes, including gold, silver and bronze 'biggest fan' awards that include $100, $50 and $25 gift cards for the first three people in line, Collective Kitchen cooking class admission for the first 15 in line, vouchers for a free six-inch cake for the first 30 in line that can be used on opening day or on another day, goody bags for the first 100 in line, music, a photo booth and tours of the property.
"We're anticipating it being crazy," said Simmons. "But I'm really excited to take this next step, and I can't wait to see what happens next."