Michelle Cadden Hayes is the owner and operator of The Electric City Bakehouse, which opened last week on Penn Avenue in Scranton. She is a graduate of Scranton High School and Keystone College, where she earned a degree in culinary arts. She has two children: Wilkie, 4, and Bailee, who will turn three in March. They live in Clarks Summit.
Meet Michelle Cadden Hayes …
What inspired you to want to open your own bakehouse?
I studied culinary arts, but I’m self-taught with the cakes. While I was going to culinary school, I rented out a small private commercial kitchen, and I was doing cakes out of there, and that kind of helped put me through culinary school. I did it for a couple of years, but I stopped doing it while I was having babies. (Laughs) Once they got a little bit older, and I felt it was manageable to open something, I wanted to get back into it. And recently, the trends with the drip cakes are what inspired me. They really allow for a more creative outlet, rather than having someone show me a picture of something and wanting something exactly like that. A lot of times I have somewhat of a creative freedom to create them, and that’s really what I love doing.
You’re a brand new business. What are your expectations?
I’m hoping that the community embraces the idea of a modern cakery, rather than a traditional bakery, and that I’m able to introduce some new things to the area. I also want to get involved in special events. For First Friday, we’re going to do some special events, and we’re going to be offering different cooking and decorating classes. And I’m just hoping that the community embraces all of that.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to cook, I love to entertain, and I love doing things with my children. We’re always looking for different things to do and we’re at the park all the time in the summer. And I love to travel.
The Dave Matthews Band. O.A.R. Elton John. Frank Sinatra. I really like all genres of music. Right now what I’m listening to a lot of Ed Sheeran.
You mentioned that you love to travel. What’s your favorite city?
Portland, Oregon. Big foodie town, really hipster and lots of unique places to go. I love the vibe there, and they have the best food that I’ve ever had in any city.
Favorite vacation spot?
My favorite place that I’ve travelled to is Sicily. And I like Charleston. But if we’re talking more local, I love taking the kids to Cape May.
Favorite thing about NEPA?
I like the change of seasons, though I wish the winter was a little bit shorter. And I really like the community. It’s a small town vibe, but with a little bit of a larger population. Everybody kind of knows everyone, and if you say your last name, more than likely, someone knows your family.
All-time favorite movie?
I like everything from romantic comedies to government conspiracy films and everything in between, but if I really had to pick, I guess it would be “Marley & Me.”
Favorite TV show?
“Grey’s Anatomy,” “This Is Us,” “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and “Chopped.”
Thai food. It’s my favorite to cook and eat.
Biggest pet peeve?
When you’re driving and you let people cross the street and the don’t say, “Thank you.”
A basset hound named Levi. I’m a big dog lover.
Favorite book or author?
I used to like Nicholas Sparks, but now, I really love “Gone Girl.” And I like anything about government conspiracy. I’m not really into conspiracy, but I just find it interesting.
Is there anything about you that might surprise people?
I went skydiving. Now that I’m a Mom, I value my own life more, but if I didn’t have kids I would do it again. (Laughs)
Have you had a moment in your life or a time in your life that has really helped shape you as a person?
My dad died when I was 13. He was an entrepreneur and a hard worker, and I think that kind of shaped the idea of what I had for this business. You try to include motherhood or parenthood with a small business, and there are sacrifices on their part and sacrifices on my part. But when I think back, it kind of shaped my work ethic and a lot of who I am — just seeing him work so much. We were there, when we were seven or eight, ringing up customers and setting up pricing on displays, and those are memories that I’m fond of. When I feel bad about my kids being here, and I think back on that, it’s all positive.
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Emma Black