When Karen Riner decided to open a bakery in Fort Meade, she had two goals.
One was to create “yummy treats,” everything from cookies to cakes. The second was a little less obvious, but perhaps no less important to Riner: Pay tribute to her father.
Riner’s dad, Wilbert Lancaster, was a 1963 graduate of Fort Meade High School, but everyone knew him as “Toadie.” Thus, the frog part of her logo, with the tagline of “Toadally Delicious.”
“That’s a nod to him,” she explained. Her father died 11 years ago from cancer. “He was a believer in us, and anything we wanted to do, we could. He was very supportive, so it’s my little way to bring him into this.”
The official bakery name, “Yummy Bites” is a nod to her signature cake pops.
“My best friend and I were talking and she said ‘they’re just yummy.’ And I said, well, they’re just a yummy bite,” she recalled.
The bakery came out of an association with Double R Cafe, which last year moved to its new home on East Broadway, but had more space than they needed on most days. As part of their commitment to the community, they serve free coffee to bus drivers who stop in. Riner has been driving bus for the last eight years.
“I came here with a couple of friends and met the guys, liked the guys,” she recalled. “They had someone that was baking their desserts, but for some reason they couldn’t that day, and I volunteered to bake them a cake. That’s really how it started. After a couple of months, they offered me this space. I can’t ask for anyone to be any better to me than they are.”
She had thought about having her own shop for a while, since she was already making and selling cakes and her cake pops out of her house for a couple of years.
And, she noted, she’s appreciated the reception she’s received so far, having already done cakes for everything from bridal showers to graduations. Cakes, pies and other items can be ordered by phoning 863-205-8178.
The store is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and Saturday she is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to serve the church crowd on Wednesdays, and Friday night for those who are out for dinner. She hopes in the near future to add ice cream to her menu.
Prices are very reasonable.
“I’ve tried to keep my prices low enough so everyone can afford,” she said. “If I have more business, I can keep them low. I just hate it when a little kid wants something and they don’t have enough money.
“Everyone’s been very, very kind to me. I could not ask for anyone in Fort Meade to be nicer to me,” she added.