Contrary to popular belief, Two Chicks Whisky Business is not an alcoholic beverage retailer; rather, nestled inside the 800-square-foot space in Plainfield, Ind., is a family-owned and operated bakery.
What was once Hill’s Cobbler Shop, a local shoe-repair business, is now a haven for all things dessert run by spouses Rhonda and Paige Welp. Its display cases are filled with an ever-changing variety of unique confections such as cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and pies. Paige’s mom also works at the bakery, making Two Chicks operation run entirely by family, which is exactly how they like it.
“We make it all,” Paige says. “Either me or Rhonda or my mother have all touched the item that will go out of that store.”
Two Chicks Whisky Business started back in 2016 when the Welps bought an old work truck and converted it into a food truck to sell their desserts at farmers markets and special events around the city, such as Gen Con.
“Initially, we started out just baking for family and friends. It wasn’t anything formal,” Rhonda says. “Paige has always wanted to do a food truck and then we thought about a dessert truck. There are cupcake trucks and slushee trucks and ice cream trucks, but there weren’t really dessert trucks.”
Rhonda and Paige were largely inspired to start their four-wheeled bakery because they both grew up in towns where big box stores weren’t even a thing. If they wanted to grab some sweet treats, they had to visit a local bakery.
“Paige and I talked about it and we’re like, ‘Kids don’t get to have that experience with their parents like we did,'” Rhonda says.
Now that Paige and Rhonda are the pastry chefs in the kitchen, they enjoy throwing in some off-the-wall desserts, such as a Fruity Pebble cheesecake, bread pudding made of donuts, and another twist on cheesecake, with birthday cake as the crust.
“We’ll come up with different combinations and not just stick with traditional,” Paige says. “We like coming up with different ideas just to be a little different.”
After initially opening the food truck and gaining some local attention, they eventually expanded and started selling their desserts at Orange Leaf in Avon, which brought in even more clientele. After the Orange Leaf owner decided to retire, Rhonda and Paige were forced to decide where to take their business next.
After some searching, Rhonda and Paige found their perfect “old charm bakery” in Plainfield. The two transformed their newfound storefront into a space that embodied the vintage aesthetic they were looking for. After making the necessary renovations in March 2019, they opened to the public in May 2019.
“We don’t have a huge staff,” Paige says. “That’s why we’re so limited on desserts. We want it to be a quality product, not a quantity thing.”
In fact, the two don’t have any formal culinary or baking experience at all. All they’ve learned about baking has been trial and error or learned from family members.
“Everything is self-taught through recipes from our grandmothers,” Rhonda says. “We just watched it from generations passed down. Everything that people see, or they get from our shop is scratch-made and from our own recipes. Everything we do is self-taught.”
Prior to working at the bakery full-time, Paige was a bus driver in Avon. As for Rhonda, she still works her full-time job of 20 years as a probation officer.
“Two Chicks Initially started as a part-time thing,” Rhonda says. “We did the truck and when it became full-time and we got into the store in Plainfield, that’s when Paige quit her job and did the bakery full-time. Once I retire, the bakery will be full-time for me as well.”
Today, Pagie handles most of the baking, while Rhonda handles the business side of things.
As Paige works with both her mom and her wife at the bakery, she gets a lot of family time. However, she doesn’t mind the extra time with them at all. The same rings true for Rhonda—they make a pretty good team.
“Paige is very artistic and comes up with a lot of different types of ideas and recipes,” Rhonda says. “I’m more heavy-handed in the business part of it. So together, I think it works really, really well. It’s nice having family around like that. I think we both bring a good mix to the table. It might not work for everybody but for us it seems to work.”
As much fun as it can be to work with your spouse, the wives were interested to see how their presence would be received. There was some hesitation about how the community would react to the Welps as a same-sex couple and business owners. To their delight, the community response couldn’t have been better.
“As a same-sex couple, you’re always scared of how people are willing to take you in, like as a business owner,” Rhonda says. “It’s been very receptive. I feel at home here. We said the other day that if we ever had to move, we don’t know if we would want to move out of Plainfield because people have been very kind to us.”
For now, the two are hoping to teach today’s younger generations about what it’s like to wrangle the kids into the car and take a trip to a local bakery for some sweet treats.
That sounds simply delicious to us.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.