Dubuque dessert shop to move to new downtown location in next year

LOCATION: 197 Main St. 

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

PHONE: 563-845-0794

ONLINE: candlereadycakes.com or facebook.com/candlereadycakes

A popular Dubuque dessert shop plans to move to a new downtown location.

Candle Ready Cakes, currently located at 197 Main St., will move to 249 W. First St. within the next year. The new location at the corner of First and Locust streets is next to the business Planted.

“This has kind of been in the works for a couple of years now,” said Jill Takosky, owner of Candle Ready Cakes. “COVID slowed it down a little bit. We really have outgrown our current location. We need a bigger kitchen to employ more staff. Our kitchen is so small, we can only really put three people in there to work efficiently. The new kitchen will be three times as large.”

The new location still will be near many of the venues that buy its desserts, she said.

“For walking traffic, it’s going to be a little bit better,” she said. “There’s more traffic going past there. We’re hoping to increase visibility.”

Takosky said the First Street building will be completely remodeled, and crews already have started masonry work on the outside. While the building’s historic elements will remain, it also will have a new look to make the area that serves as a gateway into the neighborhood more attractive.

“It really is beautifying a corner of downtown Dubuque that really needed revitalization,” Takosky said. “It’s really going to amp up that first look when people come to Dubuque.”

She said she also hopes to hire more people in the larger space, though she is unsure of how many at this point. Candle Ready Cakes employs eight people.

The expanded space also will allow more orders to be filled. Takosky said the shop fully books up on custom orders one week in advance.

Takosky said she also plans to introduce more product lines to customers. Currently, the business focuses on specialty cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, macarons and edible cookie dough.

Takosky envisions a monthly rotation of new items, such as brownies and cheesecakes.

“It’s just to keep it fresh and exciting and to always have some good, new things for people to come in to the store and try,” she said.

The new location also will double as an event space to be rented for events such as bridal or baby showers, as well as space for cake decorating classes. Takosky said the shop has held decorating classes for years, but in-person classes and events have been on hold since the pandemic began.

Candle Ready Cakes also has the opportunity to win up to $28,000 to assist with its relocation.

Dubuque Main Street recently selected Candle Ready Cakes as one of eight Dubuque applicants to compete in Main Street Iowa’s Open 4 Business initiative, which supports business development and expansions in Main Street communities, said Laura Bertjens, event and program specialist with Dubuque Main Street.

Candles Ready Cakes was named one of the top five competitors in the state and awarded $8,000. The business could receive another $20,000 in August if it is named the winner in the state contest.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment to grow out of a business within 10 years and to need more space,” Bertjens said of Candle Ready Cakes. “It’s a testament to their quality product and customer service. It will create a pleasant gateway for Locust Street into Dubuque. They’re going to fix that up as part of their project. We couldn’t be more happy for them.”

The news of Candle Ready Cakes’ move comes as the business prepares to mark its 10-year anniversary in August. Takosky initially opened the business with her mother, Beth Schrempf, at the Main Street location.

“We’ve loved our Main Street location, and we didn’t know if a move would ever be in our future,” Takosky said. “But when this corner building went up for sale, it was perfect. … We are working on a rebrand. It’s just going to be really great.”