“If you would’ve told me five years ago that I would have a bakery in the city of Seattle, I would’ve called you crazy,” says Kevin Moulder, founder of Cubes Baking Co. in Wallingford.
Cubes is a unique bakery, and the company came about in an unusual way. “The idea came when I purchased a new car about five years ago,” explains Moulder. Purchasing a Nissan Cube and looking for ways to finance his new ride, he had the idea to bake and deliver cube-shaped cakes in his cube-shaped car. “The Cube, which are cube-shaped cakes available in six different flavors, was born,” Moulder says of his company’s signature item.
Cubes Baking Co. began as an appointment-only custom cake bakery; during his first year, Moulder filled orders by working out of a commercial kitchen space at his place of employment that his employer allowed him to use, where he was the in-house baker. During his second year, he operated out of a shared commercial kitchen. The process of expanding into a brick-and-mortar location was “overwhelming and exciting at the same time,” says Moulder.
His years of experience in the baking industry helped him find creative ways to finance his expansion. By setting up at wedding conventions and selling lots of affordably-priced, simple wedding cakes, Moulder was able to save enough to afford the up-front costs of opening a new store.
Navigating requirements and building out the new shop was a long process. “There was a lot of permitting we needed through the City, and it was difficult to find a contractor who was willing to work with us, based on the condition of our unit and the work that needed to be done,” he recalls.
There were days when Moulder thought they would never open, but he persisted and sought help where he could: “I took advantage of the free coaching available and visited the downtown [Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections office] about five times.”
At last the new Cubes location opened, a little over a year after they signed the lease at the Wallingford location. “We were lucky we had the ability to continue accepting and baking custom celebration and wedding cakes from a commercial kitchen while the build-out was occurring, still allowing us to bring in income,” explains Moulder.
Today, Cubes Baking Co. continues to sell custom cakes while also acting as a unique gathering space and resource for the neighborhood. “Our bakery serves as an alternative baking company that provides an underrepresented style of food in this city,” Moulder says of his modern twist on Mexican baking.
Inspired by his grandmother and the panaderías of his childhood in San Antonio, Cubes’ conchas, scones, cupcakes, and other pastries are cube-shaped and served in traditional style: grab a pair of tongs and fill up a tray. Moulder’s favorite is the tres leches cake, which comes in six flavors.
“I hope that we serve as inspiration for other creative thinking Mexican-Americans, giving them an establishment to be proud of and showing that hard work really does pay off,” says Moulder. Cubes sometimes partners with fellow small food businesses, giving others a chance to sell their food in a neighborhood they may not otherwise have access to. Moulder plans to set up a small area in his bakery where local artists and crafters can sell items as well.
Cubes also partners with El Centro de la Raza by donating day-old goods, reducing food waste. “El Centro De La Raza does such great work in this city to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, have their voices heard and have opportunities to be successful. El Centro provides the resources and we wanted to help any way we could,” Moulder says. “I have the goal of continuing to make connections with other Latinx/LGBTQ businesses and non-profit organizations that serve the Hispanic community, so we can continue to lift each other up and provide representation.”
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Growing from a one-man operation running out of a shared kitchen to a full store location hasn’t been easy, but Cubes continues to carve out its niche in its neighborhood and in the Seattle community.
“I would say that someone looking to open their own business should be willing to work a minimum of 16 hours a day and realize that it’s very, very hard work,” Moulder says. “The payoff is well worth it, but it can take years of working hard to see a reward.”
Those interested in opening or expanding a business don’t need to do it alone—the Office of Economic Development has free resources, information, and coaching available. Entrepreneurs can check out our Restaurant Success page, our Business Decision Engine, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.