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November 24, 2021

Cruise Coffee Company, The Hot Pink Box Dessert Co. team up for new bakery

Erin Buchla, owner of Cruise Coffee Company, and Branddi Palmer, owner of The Hot Pink Box Dessert Co., plan to open a new bakery in the Cavallaro Transit Center at 246 Kings Village Road some time in May.

The new shop, dubbed Cruise Coffee Company featuring baked goodies by the Hot Pink Box, will be the first collaboration between the co-owners, who met at the 2018 Scotts Valley Art and Wine festival and have been friends since. 

“Branddi’s Hot Pink Box Dessert caters and I knew that catering is really hard-hit right now, with no weddings, events or parties,” Buchla said. “I reached out and asked what she thought about brick-and-mortar. She was over the moon and had always wanted to do it, so this became an opportunity to bring two Scotts Valley businesses together.”

In reality, Palmer says she was more intimidated than she let on. 

“The idea was frightening, I won’t lie,” she said. “Catering is totally different. You have a few events to focus on, you get them done, and that’s it. A bakery is constantly churning out food. I’m in charge of the menu. This is my dessert table, I choose the desserts everyday. It’s a lot more involved.”

Buchla and Palmer said they intend to use other local products in their creations, such as the Sour Dough Bread Mommas, a two-women team from Ben Lomond that is currently getting a wholesale license.

“I’ll have Kissed by an Angel Wines, a new Scotts Valley microbrewery and I’d like to chat with Steel Bonnet,” Buchla said. “I’ll be using local jams, mustards, even vanilla, and dog treats. I’m very into local and keeping it in the community.”

Buchla admits that she was hesitant at first because of how tough the pandemic has been on businesses. But after touring the space she felt differently.

“In the back of my head I was thinking, ‘I can’t afford this,’ but it was a glorious building,” she said. “Before I decided to expand I would grab Cruise Coffee, take my dog to the park, stop at the depot and envision the whole thing coming together. I pictured people laughing, drinking their coffee, sipping on wine. It’s a beautiful place in the middle of town, near the park, the senior citizen center, the library, the farmer’s market, the theater, all of those things are so dear to my heart.”

In addition to local food, Buchla said she plans to use the space to display local art.  

“Local artists are currently painting the table tops, we’ll hang and sell local art, hold events with local musicians and entertainers, and host micro-businesses cost free,” she said.

Through art, food and entertainment, Buchla said she hopes to curate an immersive and interactive Scotts Valley experience.

“All of the menu items will be somewhat interactive. Say with avocado toast, you’ll choose your bread and the toppings will be presented with you to play with, however you’d like to,” she said. “We’ll have charcuterie, bruschetta, so you can play with different flavor profiles.”

Palmer explained what to expect from her baked goodies.

“In Scotts Valley, we don’t have that lush bakery experience,” she said. “When I was a kid, I’d go into a bakery and see those desserts that you want to dive into. That’s what I envision in our cases in small batches. Those luscious desserts we’ve always loved as kids, but slightly elevated, yet still that yummy gooey dessert.”

Buchla said the partnership with Palmer was a natural fit.

“We have the same vision. We’re both super outgoing, fun women, who like to push boundaries,” she said. “We’re both active in the community. I like to give back and host events… It’s a perfect combo, she does the Zoom meetings and I give greetings.”

Buchla said May 1 was set as a tentative opening date, but much of the process behind obtaining permits and licenses is still new to her.

“When I opened Cruise two years ago, I was only working on branding and coffee, with a few menu items since it’s such a small shop,” she said. “We’re shooting for May 1, and we’ll see what happens. We’re going to start and keep building, just like we do with our platters, building all the flavors on top of each other to a fabulous new community center… So far, all of the pieces have fallen into place, every time there’s an obstacle, it gets moved. I feel like the universe has said this is a good idea.”

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