Stitch together cake, cellphones and a host of other electronic devices, and you end up with three local business owners running national franchise stores that feature embroidery and printing services, tasty cakes, and cell phone and personal electronics repair. Living in the best of both business worlds, the owners benefit from an established business plan while putting their own stamp on their local stores.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
With no intended snark to the gold standard of desserts, this isn’t your grandmother’s Bundt cake. Nothing Bundt Cakes offers 10 flavors, including a flavor of the month (for March and April, it’s peanut butter chocolate chip), of 8- and 10-inch cakes, Bundtlets (think large muffins) and Bundtinis by the dozen (think bite size). Cream cheese frosting features petal or drizzle designs, and staff can customize cakes with any one of 40 different decorative themes. Prices range from $4.25 to $67.
The store also features party accoutrements, including plates, glassware, napkins, balloons and more. “It’s a one-stop shop,” co-owner Jill Tullemans says, adding, for example, “If people are coming in on the fly, they like to grab the Buntinis for a special event or hostess gifts.” Extra store items can round out the quick trip in for a party gift.
Many businesses rely on word of mouth, and Nothing Bundt Cakes takes it a step further with its motto: 10,000 mouths. Tullemans explains that franchise owners are required every business quarter to provide 10,000 Bundt cake samples to potential customers. She says her staff members take cakes on the road to as many community venues as possible, including Taste of Eden Prairie.
Tullemans and co-owner Patty Balster opened the Eden Prairie location in October 2013. Friends for 32 years, the duo had established careers in insurance and the dental field, respectively, but both women were ready for a new phase. Balster came to Tullemans with the idea, and “it was perfect for both of us,” Tullemans says, adding that she enjoys handling the business end of the store, while Balster tends to the baking. “It’s kind of like a marriage,” Tullemans says. “We disagree, but we come back to each other. We respect one another.”
Originating in Las Vegas, the chain has 110 locations nationwide, and Tullemans, along with her husband, will open another site this summer in Eagan.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 8435 Joiner Way, Eden Prairie // 952.512.2500
Browsing through the EmbroidMe website makes one tempted to throw an event just to pass out some of the promotional products offered through the company. (Who can resist a personalized Hershey Chocolate Kiss or a custom Monopoly board?)
Local owners Jessica and Ross Rosenthal are clearly offering more than just custom embroidery services. The franchise business—originated in West Palm Beach, Florida, with about 250 sites nationwide—also offers screen-printing and promotional products from A to Z, including apparel (uniforms, outerwear and active wear), candy treats, eco-friendly products, health care products, travel items and more.
While most of the business is generated in the Twin Cities, Ross Rosenthal explains that some items are shipped throughout the country and internationally. “We have the ability to help other businesses grow their business,” he says. “I personally enjoy that.”
He also enjoys working side by side with his wife, Jessica. “Fun. Awesome,” he says of the experience. “We know what each one of us is going to take care of.”
Ross and Jessica Rosenthal own and operate EmbroidMe in Eden Prairie
The couple opened the shop in Eden Prairie in 2008. “We’ve continually grown” since opening, Rosenthal notes, adding that even during the economic downturn, EmbroidMe kept a healthy pace. He says what makes the company unique is its ability sell one or 100,000 of the same product, be it to the individual or a business. Sometimes those single items make a big statement, including an embroidered boat cover for a 52-foot boat on Lake Minnetonka. “We can almost print or embroider on just about anything,” Rosenthal says.
The store’s website’s interactive design tools enable customers to create their design elements, but local staff is at the ready to provide guidance. The store includes a product showroom to help generate ideas.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, by appointment Saturday-Sunday; 16368 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie // 952.906.2894
CPR Cell Phone Repair
How many company FAQ sections include, “My toddler dropped my Blackberry Phone in the toilet. What do I do?” It’s a question asked by far too many desperate cell phone owners, but CPR Cell Phone Repair offers much more than phone repair. It can help cure what ails laptops, tablets, MP3 players and gaming systems, too. Free estimates help customers understand, “Is it worth getting fixed?”
Matt Udermann, owner of the Eden Prairie location, brings experience in finance, mobile devices, product management and small store concepts from big box and large retailers. He enjoys working on a smaller retail stage because of “the variety and the ability to make things happen quickly,” he says, adding corporate life can be insulating, and he enjoys working in the Eden Prairie store. “You get closer to the pulse of the customer,” he explains. “You get to know what their fears are, what their needs are.”
Owner Matt Udermann (left) and technician Sierra Redd (right) of Cell Phone Repair
He’s keyed in on some of those needs, noting that 11.5 percent of iPhone users have a cracked screen and 35 percent of smart phone users will break their phone in the first year of ownership. Udermann tells his staff to remember the motto: “Service so good, you’ll tell everyone.” It must be working. While only open since October 2014, CPR has a 35 percent repeat or referral rate, he says.
Customers can also buy, sell or trade devices through CPR. More and more, customers are asking, “‘How can I use my device longer?’,” Udermann explains. For those wanting to trade in their phones, Udermann says CPR can help. “We can get those phones up and running, so you can get the maximum trade-in,” he says. In a world where it can be a challenge to keep up with ever-changing technology or stay ahead of cracked screens and damaged systems, CPR seems to offer a band-aid for busted budgets, too.
With three CPR locations in the Twin Cities, Udermann says 20 to 25 more sites are in the offing, and he intends to open up another shop in the southwest metro.
7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 11611 Leona Road, Suite B., Eden Prairie // 952.452.8100