After three years of running her business from home, Natalie Wertz has opened a storefront not just for those with a sweet tooth or looking for a wedding cake, but for future wine-and-diners.
Wertz, a 2002 Tiffin Columbian graduate, said she loves what she does and has been experimenting with cakes for 10 years. She moved her business, Phat Cakes, to 45 S. Washington St. in April and operates from a room adjacent to Bunky's Bike Service.
Over the last couple years, friends of Wertz have completely renovated the building.
"We completely gutted the building, taking it down to the studs to transform it into a split occupancy for Bunky's Bikes and Phat Cakes," Wertz said. "I want to thank all the people who made this possible."
Tiffin entrepreneur Tony Consolo assisted Wertz in opening the shop.
"It has been very rewarding to be involved with renovating Za run down building in downtown Tiffin and make it available to the general public," Consolo said.
Wertz offers daily lunch and dinner specials, with more than 40 menu items, including gourmet cupcake, coffee, salads, desserts, paninis, wraps, soups, gourmet cheesecakes, cookies and cake balls.
The business specializes in birthday cakes, wedding cakes, shaped cakes, cupcakes and gourmet desserts.
Wertz's shaped cakes can be anything from high heels and pickles, to soccer balls and computers, her website states.
Wertz said she comes up with recipe ideas while shopping or just looking around.
"I hear about all the cake shows, but I never have time to watch them," she said.
Wertz prefers a minimum four-day notice for preparing a cake, depending on its complexity, she said.
"Some cakes take longer if they require to be sculptured," she said.
One of Wertz's latest cupcakes is listed on her Phat Cakes Facebook page as "Kahlua n' Cream."
"It's Kahlua-infused chocolate cake, filled with Kahlua cream, topped with vanilla and caramel buttercream," she said.
Wertz provides a connection for groups looking for a gathering place.
An unaffiliated knitting group called the Phat Hookers has met every Wednesday for the last month at the shop.
Yarn bombing is the group's practice, where they decorate the tree outside Phat Cakes in multi-colored yarn each week - a practice originating from Europe, said one group member.
In addition to Wertz's shop being open to groups, she is starting to book musicians.
Local folk pop band "Get in the Ark," will be performing at 5 p.m. Friday at Phat Cakes.
It's the shop's first band performance.
Wertz said Phat Cakes plans to host bands and other musical guests throughout the summer.
"Any musicians interested in performing are welcome to stop in or call for details," she said.
She plans to sell artwork and is in the final phase of getting a liquor license.
"Once this is finalized we will be offering micro beers, wine, a few mixed drinks and adult milkshakes," she said.