Sweet Success

Nothing Bundt Cakes fills niche in world of cakes

Suzanne Pacey/staff
Gloria Mattei, owner of Nothing Bundt Cakes Milton.

For someone whose family and corporate life once kept her too busy to cook, Gloria Mattei is finding sweet success in a business that is all about the baking.

Nothing Bundt Cakes in Milton is now in its third year of operation, turning out a variety of Bundt cakes from its location off Windward Parkway. The uniquely shaped cakes were hugely popular in the 1950s and ’60s when they were first introduced to the U.S. market, but the Bundt cakes from Mattei’s ovens are anything but your grandmother’s creation.

She quickly lists the variety of flavors available, including chocolate chocolate chip, white white chocolate, red velvet, white chocolate raspberry, carrot, lemon, marble, cinnamon swirl and pecan praline. Customers can choose from 10-inch and 8-inch cakes as well as Bundlets, which are enough to share between two people, and personal-sized Bundtinis.

“Nothing Bundt Cakes offers a product that is a beloved and special memory to many people,” said Mattei, who first moved to North Fulton in 1997 and now makes Milton her home. “We’ve learned that Bundt cakes hold a special place in many people’s hearts, and many of us remember a loved one baking a special Bundt cake just for them at some point in their lives.”

Mattei was born in Puerto Rico, the youngest of five children in a family with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Her grandfather owned and developed land for farming and cattle, her mother built her own realty leasing business, and her brother opened his own bookstore.

Initially, Mattei took the corporate route, taking a job with Verizon Wireless after graduating with a business degree from the University of Puerto Rico. But after 16 years in the business world, happily married with two children, the urge to own her own business took hold.

“I was introduced to [Nothing Bundt Cakes] in 2011 when a co-worker introduced me to the brand on one of my business trips,” Mattei said. “I was impressed by the quality and taste and my first thought was ‘There is nothing like this in Atlanta.’”  

The company was founded nearly 20 years ago by two women, Debra Shwetz and Dena Tripp, in Las Vegas and has since grown to more than 100 locations nationwide, including three in Georgia.Mattei says other than loving the product and knowing it filled a unique niche in the cake world, she admits she was outside her comfort zone in opening her own franchise.

“My background had nothing to do with bakeries or cakes,” she said, laughing. “I loved my corporate career, but that owner/entrepreneur seed inside me wanted to grow.”

She was also inspired by her two children, now 14 and 11, and the desire to share a family business with them. Her son has autism and her dream included having a business that would serve as a platform where he could be actively involved and learn lifelong skills.

But the path from idea to reality came with challenges for Mattei and her husband of 20 years, Sergio Pacheco, once they decided to pursue a franchise with Nothing Bundt Cakes. 

She questioned her decision to leave the security of the corporate world and its steady paychecks.

“I kept asking myself ‘Is this the right thing to do?” she said. “I knew nothing about baking cakes … I had no food industry experience, I don’t even cook!”

But she found comfort in the strength of the brand, the history of success and the franchise team she worked with.  

“The process of becoming a small-business owner takes time,” she said. “There are a lot of factors to consider, such as financial analysis and risk, working capital, learning curve, growth projections, financial and personal impact to the family, market trends, demographics, locations, staffing … the list goes on and on.”

The biggest challenge came in the rejection of her first business plan by Nothing Bundt Cakes in 2012, and the difficult decision to try again. Instead of focusing on the failure, Mattei said she chose “positivism and persistence” to make the plan better.

“We had to go back to the drawing table and figure out what were we missing,” she said. She enlisted the help of experts, added more creativity and substance to the plan, and were approved on their second try.

“If it wasn’t for our positive attitude and perseverance toward the challenge, we would have never been where we are today,” said Mattei.

And where she is today is year three of a thriving business that offers a new option in the sea of bakeries and adds a modern twist to an “old-fashioned” product. Mattei said being part of a 

franchise does come with a set of operational procedures that must be followed, but also allows enough freedom to make the business her own.

“Being new in this industry, it was important to have guidelines that I could follow, [and which] have led to the success of the brand nationwide for the past 17 years,” said Mattei. “But I still have operational freedom that allows us to customize and come up with creative solutions.”

She points to more than 40 custom designs that can fit any event, whether it’s  a small family birthday party or a wedding with hundreds of guests. Mattei said she can also add company 

logos, pictures or messages to make the Bundt cakes even more personal. Being a small-business owner also means helping support the organizations that make a community strong, Mattei said. 

Over the years, Milton’s Nothing Bundt Cakes has supported numerous charities, including FOCUS, an organization that supports kids with special needs and their families, Shamrocking for a Cure to support cystic fibrosis cure research, North Fulton Community Charities, Curing Kids Cancer, Young Survival Coalition, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, and local schools.    

“It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up every day and know that you are doing something good for your family and the community,” Mattei said.


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