Councilmember David Sanders July Newsletter
July 1, 2019
For my very first business spotlight, I interviewed Robert Kelly of Nothing Bundt Cakes, a local business in Surprise. This is a great, local bakery we have right in our backyard here in District 5. Robert Kelly and I had a great discussion on a variety of topics. Following are the highlights of our discussion:
Q: What drove you to start your business in Surprise?
A: We had wanted to start our business in Surprise since 2014 and had started our search at that time. However, we felt that the community wasn’t ready for our brand at that time. There was a lot of turmoil with the Highway 60 overpass under construction, and we couldn’t find the right consumer energy. When Prop 206 was passed by the voters in 2016, this delayed things as we had to find out how guests were going to handle the increase in costs and resultant prices. So we waited until we felt the time was right and then started our location search again early last year. We feel the Surprise market is now a diverse and growing community and we look forward to many years of bringing smiles to our many guests.
Q: What helped your passion of owning a bakery?
A: My wife, my sister-in-law and I have all had long careers in the health care industry. In fact, my wife just recently retired from her “real job” as a nurse at Mayo Clinic. We’ve always been in a career focused on the public benefit, but let’s face it, health care is a challenging environment and can be very stressful and takes an emotional toll. At the same time, all three of us have always been “foodies”, the girls are both fabulous and often experimental cooks… and I love to eat good food. So when Donna and I were finally burned out on our health care careers, we started looking for a business opportunity in the food industry where we could combine our passion for good food while making people (our guests) happy. There is also a funny “circle of life” story to this for me personally as the first job I ever had as a young teenager growing up in Northern Ontario, Canada was baking bread in my mother’s kitchen and selling it locally to make some money. Baking was my first career and will be my last.
Q: What is your professional or personal motto? Why this particular motto?
A: I don’t have any specific catchphrase or documented motto per se, but I would say, if pushed to put my beliefs or ideals into words that goal is to help make the lives of our employees better and help make our communities a better place to live through excellence of the service and products we provide. We believe if we do this, our personal success will be automatic. “Sharing happiness and success, one cake at a time.”
Q: How has the growth been since opening here in Surprise?
A: Simply put, we have been blessed. We opened in mid-February with certain expectations based on the openings of our other two locations in the West Valley. We immediately realized, we needed to hire more team members because the Surprise location was markedly busier that either of the other two locations first years. Since that readjustment of expectations, we have had steady growth. Of course, like pretty much all retail businesses in the Phoenix Valley in the summer, sales have dropped off after Father’s Day as the snowbirds have left and school is out so families start leaving for summer vacations. We expect this and know that come late August into early October, it starts ramping up again. We always use the summer for implementing new programs for operations or training or renovations/repairs as needed.
Q: Where do you see Nothing Bundt Cakes in one year? Five years?
A: As a brand, we continue to grow, dramatically expanding all over the country and that growth hasn’t slowed down at all. This is significant to local owners like us because it creates greater and greater awareness and, in our case, trust due to the very high standards we demand in our products and service. Combined with our local efforts in marketing and our community involvement, we expect to have grown by 20% next year and 80% by 5 years.
Q: What are you looking forward to seeing in Surprise as a small business owner?
A: For many years, the West Valley communities, especially in the northwest part of the valley, have been seen only as retirement communities. Such a community can become stagnant in growth and diversity. We currently see, and hope to continue to see, much more diversification in our Northwest Valley…. More primary industry and employment which leads to greater diversification in our demographics which leads to greater business employment and opportunities, which leads to better tax revenues for our cities, which leads to better community services, planning and development…etc. We feel that Surprise, and the surrounding area is finally on this positive feedback loop and as a small business owner, this is fabulous.
Q: How many employees do you have here?
A: Including full-time and part-time team members, our roster is currently at just 13 for the summer. As we move into the fall and with our continued growth, we will be back in hiring mode again and by November we should we at about 17.
Q: What’s your favorite baked good here?
A: For me, a huge part of eating enjoyment is texture. I love food that has different textures that you can enjoy with your teeth. For this reason, my favorite flavors of our cakes are our Pecan Praline Cake and our Carrot Cake. The pecan cake is loaded with a praline mixture we make of chopped pecans, brown sugar and spices while having a crown of chopped pecans such that every bite should have some bit of crunch. We don’t put nuts or raisins in our carrot cake but the crushed pineapple and julienned carrots give great texture.
Q: Tell us why people should get a bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes?
A: In a word… happiness. Whether it is for personal indulgence or as I like to say, sharing the love, our bundt cakes make people happy. At the very least… how can you not say “bundt” without a smirk or grin?
If you missed my Facebook Live interview with Robert, please see it here.
I want to thank Robert for the time he gave me so I could learn more about him and his business. We are fortunate that they call Surprise home.
If you have a recommendation for where I should go next, please call me or my staff at 623-222-1300 or email Brandon Hiller at Brandon.Hiller@surpriseaz.gov. I look forward to your input.
City Manager’s Budget
At the beginning of June, City Council adopted the FY2020 Budget. This budget addressed city growth, while maintaining our existing assets. We voted to approve $412.7 million for Fiscal Year 2020. This budget focuses on Council’s commitment to maintain quality public services and infrastructure, while addressing the needs of a growing community.
The recommended budget includes $105.8 million for Capital Improvement Projects. These funds support new projects such as facilities and roads as well as support asset replacement and maintenance needs to existing infrastructure, including public safety vehicle replacement; road maintenance; information technology, recreation and utility infrastructure.
The overall general fund revenues are expected to increase seven percent from the FY2019 adopted budget, due largely to population growth and a favorable economy.
Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp
On June 7, Councilmember Duffy and I were honored to judge the AZ TechCelerator’s 6th Annual Surprise Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. This was a fun event where our youth got to display their talent and ideas.
Thirteen students from Paradise Honors, Willow Canyon, and Valley Vista high schools and several home-schooled teens participated. The teens worked at the city’s AZ Techcelerator business incubator to identify a community need and develop a product or service to address that need.
The winning team of this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp created and pitched a concept for a peer-to-peer tutoring service, TutorFLY, which connects students to peers who can assist them with achieving academic excellence.
Please join me in congratulating the winners:
Dylan Tluczek, homeschooled
Bryan Main, homeschooled
Prince Alino, Paradise Honors High School
Gabby Roberts, Valley Vista High School
Hilton Garden Inn
I was honored to attend the ribbon cutting for the Hilton Garden Inn, located at 16601 North Stadium Way, on June 14. This is located right here in D5! This hotel will truly fit into our community and assist with the countless tournaments and Spring Training games being held at Surprise Stadium.
The Hilton Garden Inn offers 124 rooms to assist with our growing tourism market. We are grateful that the Hilton Garden Inn is able to call Surprise home! We are excited to continue to build a great relationship with them! Welcome to Surprise, Hilton Garden Inn!
Veterans Reflection Circle
On June 24, we hosted a touching groundbreaking ceremony for our new Veterans Reflection Circle that will be built in honor of our late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran, Brian Mancini.
The Veterans Reflection Circle is being built within the Surprise Community Park, next to the fishing lake. It will open on Veterans Day 2019. This site was selected for a special reason, Brian loved nature, fishing and quiet self-reflection. These are things Brian hoped would inspire countless other veterans.
The thoughtful project design will be completed at no cost to the city. Everything will be generously donated. We are honored to have partners who will be honoring our veterans. For more information on the Veterans Reflection Circle please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/vrc.
This past month, I met with the Mountain Vista Ranch Home Owner’s Association and listened to the latest happenings in the neighborhood and shared about things going on in the city. If you or your HOA would like to know more, please reach out to me, and I will be happy to set up a meeting.
Every month, I look forward to meeting with residents. If I have not yet attended your meeting, please contact me at 623.222.1325. I always enjoy spending time with residents and listening to their concerns.
4th of July Celebration
The City of Surprise will be hosting its 36th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Thursday at the Mark Coronado Park, 15850 N. Bullard Ave, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The event admission is FREE! There will also be live music from Steven P and Diversity Jukebox, food trucks, yard games, and contests, and much more. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. The city’s Independence Day fireworks display will start at 8:40 p.m.
There is also an option to hang out by the pool for 4th of July; Parks and Recreation is hosting a pool party at the Surprise Aquatic Center, 15831 N. Bullard Ave, from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. This event is limited to the first 400 Surprise Residents. Admission fee is $6, which includes games, activities, and poolside view of the city’s annual firework show. Reminder, this event is for Surprise Residents only.