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Custom-design cake shop to open in East Tosa

Owners bring varied experiences to their new venture

Jan. 11, 2012

Life in East Tosa is about to get a little sweeter.

Signature Sweets bakery is expected to open in late February in the storefront formerly occupied by Col. Pops Popcorn Co., 7227 W. North Ave.

Customers will find cakes ranging from the traditional vanilla and chocolate to fancier vanilla bean with vanilla buttercreme frosting or banana with chocolate mousse filling. The designs - they've made cakes shaped like a parrot, a purse and a pile of polo shirts, for example - are something like what would be found on television shows like "Ace of Cakes" or "Cake Boss."

The business is owned by Kimberly Hall of Milwaukee and Nicole Bitter of Muskego, former schoolmates who reconnected through Facebook.

"We both have this obsession with cakes and desserts," Hall said. "Over the last three years, we have been throwing around ideas and the possibility of actually getting out there and starting our own business."

Bitter has been been working as a baker/cake decorator at bakeries and cafes, which let her build up a clientele. Hall won a Food Network cake competition by creating masterpieces for celebrities such as comedian Steve Harvey and singer Alicia Keyes.

The neighborhood feel and residents' interest in supporting local businesses were selling points for the East Tosa location.

"Wauwatosa always has a buzz about it," Hall said. "We are excited to become a staple in this neighborhood for family and friend celebrations."

In addition to traditional and lavish cakes, the duo plan to serve up a french fruit tart, cupcakes, cake balls and cookies.

"We will continually try to create new items for customers to try," Hall said. "The creative element of the business is the rewarding part; we hope to continue to bring something different to our customers."

East Tosa already has a popular spot to buy donuts and breakfast bakery in Cranky Al's and European bakery and café Rocket Baby is under construction on North Avenue.

Bakeries, and eateries in general, have become a trend in the district, said Meg Miller, member of the East Tosa Alliance.

Hall and Bitter see room for all the businesses to co-exist, each having their specialty.

"Our business is catering to the custom cakes, desserts and treats," she said. "These cakes don't look like your average cake."

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