Before March, employees at the Friendly Bake Shop would wait for customers to walk through the doors. Faulty equipment in the dated bakery made producing their famous pastries slow and tedious.
But for a week in March, a flurry of frosting and television cameras flooded in - headed by Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro of TLC fame - to whip the bakery back into shape.
That week-long journey will be on display at 10 p.m. Monday on TLC in the pilot episode of “Bakery Boss.” Hosted by Valastro, the potential series will attempt to turn around struggling bakeries.
Tony Viti Jr., the apprentice who is planning on taking over the Frankfort family business from his cancer-stricken father and two co-owning uncles, said the attention is something that doesn't happen too much in a small town.
“It was a new experience for us, that's for sure,” he said.
During Valastro's stay, Viti said nearly everything associated with the business was overhauled. More family joined in the fray - he came in from Kentucky - and new treats have risen amid the bakery's tried-and-true staples to help boost revenue. Cupcakes and biscotti cookies were Valastro's ideas, Viti said.
There is still work to be done, however. Valastro's visit was just the catalyst for the change. Some equipment still needs to be replaced and fixed, such as a malfunctioning sheeter - machines that roll out dough into flat layers.
“It's just a waiting game at this point,” he said. “(Valastro) kind of gave them an extra push to fix it.”
Even though it hasn't even been two months since the renovations, Viti said the bakery is already seeing the fruits of their labor.
Customers, old and new, have come in a steady stream, Viti said. He expects that the TV episode will prompt a lot of new business, but the regulars still want their old favorites.
“We're keeping the old, but throwing in a little new,” he said.