Sweets salesman

Keith Bussey

Photo by Rachel Bush

In the business world, Keith Bussey is known as a fixer; he dives in to improve the conditions of an operation, to leave it better than it was before. After working as administrative lead for Chico’s Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic for 3 1/2 years, making changes to help the operation, Bussey felt like his job was done. Looking for a new endeavor that would allow him to stay in Chico, he and his wife, Lara, along with friends Kiran Singh and Vikram Reddy, discovered Nothing Bundt Cakes, a franchise bakery that exclusively sells deliciously moist bundt cakes. Convinced the store would be a great fit for Chico, the four new business partners flew to Addison, Texas, to meet for an interview at Nothing Bundt Cakes headquarters. After being approved, they started the build-out in September, and opened their doors to customers on Nov. 20. For something sweet, visit nothingbundtcakes.com or stop by the shop, located at 2061 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

Can you give me a brief history of the franchise?

It started in 1997. Two good friends, Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz, joined baking forces—one bringing her bundt cake recipe and the other providing the cream cheese frosting. They opened the first shop in Las Vegas, and now there are about 315 locations around the country.

When you were looking for new business opportunities, what made you want to stay in Chico?

It felt like the right decision for our family. It offered us stability. When my wife’s father was diagnosed with a terminal illness, we moved out here from Philadelphia, because we just felt like we needed to be closer to her mom. We had moved a couple times within a short period of time and it felt right to stay somewhere. My wife thought Chico would be the best fit.

When is the grand opening of the Chico location?

Jan. 10, and 20 percent of sales from that day will be donated to Chico Unified School District, through the North Valley Community Foundation. On Jan. 11, our first 50 guests will receive free Bundtlets for a year.

What types/flavors of cakes do you have?

We have the bite-sized Bundtinis, the miniature Bundlets, the 8-inch bundt cakes and 10-inch bundt cakes, plus tiered cakes. There are nine flavors listed on our menu, but we also have a seasonal feature flavor and usually a gluten-free option. Some of our most popular flavors are chocolate chocolate chip, lemon, red velvet and white raspberry. In addition to the bakers, the managers are taught how to bake the cakes, so I now know how to bake and frost all of these.

What is it that makes them so moist?

[Laughs.] That’s a secret. But there is a process that seals in the moisture. You could get a cake here in Chico and then you could go to Worcester, Mass., and taste the same recipe, the same cake.

Do you have a favorite flavor?

Right now it’s lemon, but it changes.