Mary Rasmussen

Mary Rasmussen
Jefferson Market and Cakery
609 W. Jefferson St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tottered on: 11 March 2008
Temperature: indoors (65F +)
Ceiling: failed to observe
Ground: hardwood, doormat
Wind: calm

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TT with HD: Mary Rasmussen

Jefferson Market and Cakery Ann Arbor

[Ed. note: There's a larger version of this image available by clicking on it. But readers will find it worth their while to stare at the smaller version it to see if they can't discern why this particular picture of the front of The Jefferson Market and Cakery is included here.]

HD: Well, welcome to the teeter totter!

MR: Thank you.

HD: You know, you mentioned earlier being locked out [of the market] this morning, and you had to call your husband, Tom, to bring you the keys from Saline?

MR: Right.

HD: And you said it was like a 25-minute wait, even though was able to leave immediately.

MR: Yeah, right.

HD: That's quite a commute!

MR: It is. But you know the thing about Saline is that people who live in Saline sort of consider ourselves 'just south of Ann Arbor'. So everybody in Saline is used to driving to Ann Arbor. In fact, you come into Ann Arbor for pretty much everything.

HD: Yeah?

MR: Yeah, it's really common. A lot of the services that people need, they have to come to Ann Arbor. Or a lot of people work in Ann Arbor. Really, people don't think anything of it.

HD: So prior to re-opening the Jefferson Market [and Cakery], what would you typically come to Ann Arbor for? You said services, so like banking, or?

MR: Not banking so much, but grocery shopping, anytime you need just about anything other than just minor little things, you gotta come into Ann Arbor.

HD: Huh, okay.

MR: And a lot of the activities that the kids do are in Ann Arbor.

HD: Oh, really. So this is like sports, and whatnot?

MR: Yeah. Right now they're not doing too much. But they have in the past done stuff that's been primarily in Ann Arbor. My sister, who's going to be working here with me, she worked in Ann Arbor as well, so everybody is pretty much used to it. It's just a different mindset that it's not a big deal to go, because you're going anyway! [laugh]

HD: So, how do you typically get to Ann Arbor from Saline? Just Ann-Arbor-Saline Road? Is that basically the way?

MR: Yeah, for us. It depends on where you live in town. We live on the south side of town, so for us, we take Saline-Ann-Arbor road to Scio Church and then cut through to get here.

HD: I think that I have been to Saline probably exactly once a year, every year since we moved to Ann Arbor to go to the Demolition Derby.

MR: Oh, okay.

HD: In the fall they have that Saline Fair.

MR: Yep.

HD: And the Demolition Derby is a big attraction for us! So you mentioned that your sister is going to be working with you?

MR: Yeah, my sister, Liz.

HD: Your sister, Liz. And there are two other women that work with the Raisin River Bake Shop? Is that right? A Liz and a Carol? Are they going to be looped into this enterprise as well, or they gonna stick to the wedding cakes?

MR: No, the Liz that's on there is actually my sister, Liz.

HD: Ah, okay.

MR: And she has been working at Thetford Corporation in Ann Arbor, and she left there, she's going to come work with me full-time.

HD: So before it was listed with McKinley had you ever heard of the Jefferson Market in Ann Arbor?

MR: My sister-in-law, Patty, works at the school and she would talk about it. Quite often! She really liked it. But I never knew where she was talking about. She kept saying, You should check for that at the Jefferson Market! And I remember saying to her, Where is that? I don't know where that is!

HD: So, it was on your radar but not in a very concrete way?

MR: Right.

HD: So you know, it's interesting that people have stopped by already this morning, who have seen activity and just ...

MR: ... people stop by all day long! It's really cool!

HD: But on the other hand, it must be a little irritating, if you're trying to get work done, right? After a while?

MR: I like it! I think it is cool! I love meeting everybody in the neighborhood. People are so friendly and people stop by, and say, Hi, I'm so-and-so, we're so excited that you are re-opening! It's been just amazing. I had no idea that that was going to happen. And it is so cool. And I love it! I mean it's just like all this love flowing at me, and it's just great!

HD: So the one question that the one guy had--Miles was his name, I think--his big issue was: Are you going to have coffee? And your answer was absolutely, Yes. Is that something that you are just in principle committed to, or have you actually got a supplier lined up and you actually know exactly how you're going to execute that?

MR: I think we are going to do the same coffee that they had in here before. Small World Roasters. Because people really liked that company, they really liked the coffee. So that's what we're hoping to do. I've had one conversation with them, but I haven't completed that whole set up. They are a pretty small company out in New Jersey.

HD: Is that something I should redact the name of when I write up the transcript just to make sure that negotiations that might be delicate ...

MR: ... no, I don't think you have to. I just would hate to have people disappointed if we can't get them in here. Because it was almost like he had to determine whether we were going to be allowed to carry his coffee. It was all based on how we were going to brew the coffee, and whether we were going to have really excellent coffee. If we were going to have a 'C' cup of coffee, then he was not going to sell it to us. I mean, we kind of got that attitude from him, so that's why I don't know!

HD: You said a /si/ cup?

MR: Yeah you know of grade 'C', like a 'C', he wanted to make sure that we had 'A' coffee.

HD: So you are hoping that you qualify.

MR: I am hoping that we would qualify.

HD: I think there would probably be people who'd be willing to write you recommendations from around the neighborhood.

MR: He wanted to know what my commitment to coffee was.

HD: Ah, do you have a deep commitment to coffee?

MR: That was it. Do I have a deep commitment to coffee?

HD: And, do you?

MR: I don't know, Alli, do we have a deep commitment to coffee? I have been wondering that myself. I mean, we want to serve good coffee.

Alli: If you're going to do pastry you've got to have good coffee.

HD: I think the correct answer is, Yes!

MR: I think we do. So, yeah. I'm just not sure what he means by that, you know. I mean, what exactly does that mean?

HD: So will he be supplying the coffee itself, and then all of the filters and all the stuff you need to brew it as well?

MR: I don't think they sell us that kind of stuff. But they do provide the equipment, because they want to make sure ...

HD: ... that it's brewed properly?

MR: To make sure it's brewed properly, and they train us on how to do all that.

HD: Wow! So do you have to go to New Jersey? Or do they come here?

MR: I think he comes here.

HD: Wow!

MR: I didn't really get that. I had to go--somebody else came in--so we didn't get to finish our conversation.

HD: Now Alli, she mentioned pastries. So there will be pastries of some kind. Have you committed to there will be X, Y, Z, or?

MR: I've got a tentative pastry menu. Alli is actually the one who will be making them with me, and I haven't reviewed that with her, yet. So I hesitate to say for sure. I think again that ...

HD: ... chocolate eclairs?

MR: No chocolate eclairs.

HD: No chocolate eclairs??!

MR: I saw that on the web post--didn't someone say chocolate eclairs?

HD: Yeah, I think when you said there's going to be a suggestion box, people took that as a green light to just make whatever requests that they want to make, and figured now is the time!

MR: Yeah, there were a lot of comments about the French fries. French fries, French fries, French fries. And people that come by ask about the French fries.

HD: And sweet potato fries, in particular.

MR: Sweet potato fries, yeah. So I wasn't planning on making French fries. So, we are going to have to investigate that further.

HD: So is there like a deep fryer back there still?

MR: There is.

HD: So you could. Sweet potato fries, you know it's interesting, we had guests from out of town yesterday, from Memphis, Tennessee, and I would have figured sweet potato fries, you could get them anywhere in Memphis. But apparently they are hard to come by in Memphis. So when we went out to eat it was all about sweet potato fries. Oh, let's get some sweet potato fries! Let's get some yam fries!

MR: So where did you go?

HD: Well, we went to Seva for lunch and to Cottage Inn downtown for dinner. And both of those places will serve you up some yam fries, which I assume are the same thing as sweet potato fries.

MR: Grizzly Peak has them too, I know.

HD: So, apparently you could sell a lot of them probably. If you made them. But me consult my list to see if there's something I have forgotten. Oh, as far as wedding cakes, I wanted to ask you, basically you have to make whatever cake the person wants, right? That's what people who make wedding cakes have to do, they're there to satisfy the bride and the groom? But if you made your own wedding cake, if you were to just select purely what you like, what kind of wedding cake would that be?

MR: Me?

HD: Yeah, you personally. Like if you and Tom were going to have like a grand wedding anniversary party and you're going to make a cake.

MR: Right. Boy, that's hard, because it changes. My favorite flavor changes all the time. That's hard. Because I'll go for a while and I'll really be into spice cake with apple filling, and then I'll switch. I really liked the tiramisu for while, I was really hot on that. And now I'm into the red velvet. I have to say it would probably depend on what the timing was, since I do love cake, so I tend to go through my cycles.

HD: So does that have anything to do with the process for baking each of the different flavors? I mean, are there certain kinds or tastes that you just enjoy making more, and that would maybe influence ...

MR: ... mmm, no, not so much. There are certain things I enjoy eating more, but there are certainly ones that I don't like to bake, or that I don't enjoy as much baking, just because it's more of a pain--it's more just like a laborious kind of thing. But it's more just like what I enjoy eating, I think.

HD: So you are able to separate what you enjoy eating from what you enjoy making, no problem?

MR: Yeah, exactly.

HD: Well, is there anything else you want to talk about before we dismount?

MR: I don't know, what do you want a talk about?

HD: Well, actually, to be honest I figured as long as we are here on the teeter totter and you're open to suggestions, I would just share with you my take on what my fantasy would be for some items--that I know there's not a chance in a million years you would end up carrying.

MR: Alright!

HD: But I figure the service I'm providing here is practice in saying, No, to people's suggestions.

MR: Bring it on, Dave, bring it on!

HD: Pop tarts. Kellogg's pop tarts.

MR: No! Next.

HD: Twinkies.

MR: Oh, Twinkies, maybe [laugh] no. No.

HD: Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.

MR: What is it with the marshmallow thing? Did you read that on some old blog there was this whole thing about marshmallows, stopping to get marshmallows and she didn't have the right flavor so they never came back again? What is up with that?

HD: Oh.

MR: I think that's a little harsh. Just about marshmallows?

HD: That may have actually been a comment that I  left.


HD: I remember leaving a comment about marshmallows.

MR: That was you!?

HD: Well, it could have been. I don't remember saying that I didn't come back because they didn't have the right flavor of marshmallows, it was simply that they didn't have marshmallows at all.

MR: Why Jet-Puffed Marshmallows?

HD: I don't know, I mean, it's the only brand name for marshmallows that I know.

MR: Well, they are the best, you know, because they are nice and separated.

HD: Yeah, they're not stuck together.

MR: The other ones are sometimes stuck together and that's not good.

HD: It's just that the place that was here before the old Jefferson Market was just--you know, they had stuff like that. They had cheese whiz. You know?

MR: Not so much, Dave! [laugh]

HD: [laugh] I liked knowing that there was a place that I could go grab stuff like that in a pinch. Because sometimes you just need a jar of cheese whiz. You need some pop charts. Or you're grilling out and you finish the meat and you realize that you've got graham crackers, and chocolate, but ...

MR: ... no marshmallows.

HD: But no marshmallows and you can't make the s'mores.

MR: I am concerned about your eating habits.

HD: Yeah?

MR: Yeah. Cheese whiz and pop parts?

HD: You know, I'm hauling this teeter totter around and I need all the fuel I can get and I will take it from wherever can I can get it. So anyway, okay, see, so now you have said, No, to all those things. And now it won't be so hard perhaps when people say they want things. But you have said, No, to chocolate eclairs already. Is that because you don't think that you will sell enough of them? Or are they just sort of up pain in the butt to make?

MR: It's because it's not something that I have a feeling like, Oh, let's make chocolate eclairs!! It's just not something that I am interested in. I try to stick with stuff that I am interested in and that I know I can do really good.

HD: So if people want really want the chocolate eclairs ...

MR: ... if people really want chocolate eclairs and everybody is like, Oh, let's do chocolate eclairs!! then we'll do chocolate eclairs. But if one person is saying they want chocolate eclairs, I don't know. I'm not that interested in chocolate eclairs.

HD: So it would take a lot more then just a couple of suggestions for chocolate eclairs to tip the balance in favor ...

MR: ... part of it is, to me, whether I think that's a really yummy thing.

HD: You don't like chocolate eclairs?!

MR: I do like them, but I wouldn't buy one, because I don't like them that much.

HD: Wow!

MR: I like them every now and then, but I wouldn't be like, Oh, yummy, chocolate eclairs!

HD: You wouldn't want to be confronted with them every day, having to make them. As far as pastry goes then, what would you pick?

MR: That's terrible. I just realized that it was true, that I am just making the things that I think are yummy, and that's really not very ...

HD: ... oh, was Alli making a sad face over there?

MR: No, she is just taping and listening. I think I'm cracking her up.

HD: So, Alli, how do you feel about chocolate eclairs?

Alli: I used to work in a bakery, and we made chocolate eclairs ...

HD: .... so you know how to make 'em.

Alli: I do.

MR: But do you really think they are yummy, like, Oooooh, chocolate eclairs?

Alli: I personally don't like them, but people bought them in Ypsi.

MR: It's not something I would crave. I don't know. It's sort of like if I don't ever crave it, probably I'm going to have a harder time making it. Because I crave a lot of sweets. But eclairs, not so much.

HD: So, if people want the chocolate eclairs, maybe channeling those requests through Alli would be more effective?

MR: It might be more effective, yep. Although she just said that she didn't like them, so.

HD: Did you say that?? I missed that part.

Alli: I'm not a huge fan of eclairs. I actually don't really like Bavarian.

HD: Oh, the cream that goes inside?

Alli: Yeah, making Bavarian.

HD: So the Bavarian cream is hard to make, is that it?

Alli: Labor-intensive.

MR: Well, if you use pastry cream. That would be another reason not to make them. Because if we made them, I would make from the right way ...

HD: ... from scratch?

MR: I would make pastry cream. But pastry cream can only keep just a very short time before it spoils. It's one of the most hazardous things that you can have in a pastry kitchen. So I always hesitate to make it, because it goes bad so fast. When you buy eclairs, a lot of times they're not filled with actual real stuff, they are filled with like processed center ...

HD: ... like whatever the cheese-whiz equivalent is of pastry cream?

MR: Exactly. But see, I would never do that.

HD: Well, listen, you've got a ton of work to do. Actually, to look at it, you wouldn't feel like, My god, you're never going to make it to open on time! Because it looks like that wall is already freshly painted, is that right? So that wall is done and you're like, I would say about a quarter of the way through that wall, aren't you, Alli?

Alli: I don't think so!

HD: Well, in terms of lineal feet, I mean there's a lot of shelving to go, which is going to be harder than the blank wall.

MR: Well, if you had been here, Dave, last week, on Monday--because we really got in here Sunday was our first day--you would be like, Oh my gosh, you guys have done so much work, it looks so much better!

HD: Well, I mean, it looks like if a little bit of the clutter got moved out, you would be be basically ready to open. Well, I guess, you've got to get some food in here. too. [laugh] So, you have a sales rep coming in a couple of minutes right? That's ten o'clock, is that right?

MR: Right, a card rep. Greeting cards.

HD: Oh, for greeting cards, okay. Are we allowed to say the company they're working for?

MR: I don't know if anybody will know it, but it's Avanti. They are really cute cards. Very clever.

HD: Well, listen, thanks for taking time to teeter totter with me this morning

MR: Yeah, it was fun! How could I resist!

HD: Well, you know, people find ways. [laugh]