Kim Martin, the creative spirit behind KM Creations  

By on August 13, 2023

Kim Martin, at her bakery KM Creations in Avon photo by Mary Ellen Riddle

Kim Martin opened her Avon bakery, KM Creations, in November and already has made hundreds of cakes, plus fresh bread, cookies, pies and a wide variety of pastries. “If people ask for something, I make it because you don’t get any experience if you don’t make something,” says the 55-year-old Frisco resident.

This is her first round running a bakery although she’s always enjoyed baking and spent 35 years in the restaurant business. The self-made businesswoman went from making and selling bath and beauty products and tasty treats such as cake pops and cocoa bombs at craft fairs to opening the brick-and-mortar shop.

The job demands working 15-17 hours a day. “For six months, I did it all by myself,” she said. It’s a lot for a nine-year cancer survivor, now cancer free, whose treatments caused health issues that left her with body pain. “My body is hurting, and I have flare ups and stuff, and I do push myself, but I have a goal,” she said. Martin gains strength from a positive “Can Do” attitude and the alternating pink and white stripes she calls her “strong stripes” that adorn the walls of the bakery.

Pink has long been the universal symbol of cancer survivorship. For Martin, the broad stripes are a bold reminder to keep going. “By his stripes, we are healed,” is a quote from the Bible, notes Martin. She counted the stripes in the store and there were 26 – the same number of surgeries she underwent in a two-and-a-half-year- period. “So that was my confirmation,” she said.

On top of running the bakery – sometimes solo, as staff come and go, Martin also sells her bakery goods once a month at the craft shows at the Family Life Center in Buxton. She conceived of the idea to have the craft shows and started them six years ago for herself and other artists.

Having a bakery was a long-term dream of Martin’s, but it took what she calls a miracle to get the money to purchase the existing bakery business and do equipment repairs. She couldn’t come up with the large down payment to seal the deal and a friend loaned her some money. And once the owner saw her earnestness and heard her story of surviving cancer, she offered to owner finance. “She wanted me to have what my dream was,” said Martin.

So far, feedback has been good, said Martin who monitors success by sales, return customers and Facebook comments on her business page. Return business has also been a positive indicator.

KM Creations is an apropos name for Martin’s bakery for while she follows recipes to a certain extent, she enjoys tweaking them. Her intuitive process of mentally mixing ingredients puts a personal touch on her baked goods.

“I mean I can look at recipes and go by recipes, but most of the time, it’s just all in my head,” she said.

She goes all out on cake decorating creating elaborate designs and toppers to add her creativity to each wedding, graduation, birthday, anniversary and special occasion cakes such as celebrating Fiesta De Quinceañera. She uses an airbrush as a decorating tool and learned in an unusual way how to do so. As a little girl, she watched her father build and paint airplanes from the ground up. Martin saw him use a large airbrush and absorbed some of his techniques.

One of Kim Martin’s inviting creations. (Photo by Kim Martin)

She caters to special dietary needs such as making vegan, and sugar- and gluten-free products. In addition to the baked goods is a frozen coffee machine. And Martin is working on a new idea: selling subscriptions online called “Sugar Wave” for a box full of her creations. The boxes can be a standard monthly subscription, sent as gifts, or you can even skip a month, if desired. The customers choose what they want sent to them. Martin’s goal is to service people far and wide. This will help her stay afloat in the off season, she said.

Martin got a jump start by advertising in local outlets and has her business card in the Hatteras rental properties. But it’s her accommodating customer service that keeps folks coming back. If she finds that people visiting the island like a certain baked good, she’s learned to keep plenty in supply. A man returned after buying a cherry pie to purchase another one, but Martin was out. She promised him that she would make one that evening. She created a blueberry-filled lemon cake decorated to look like sand, seashells and pearls for a young girl’s birthday. The cake was such a success – she named it after the child and took a picture of her. So, folks can now order an “Andi” cake. She’s made seventy so far this season.

Working on a small island creates bonds with her customers. Martin photographs every cake. It’s a diary of people – locals and visitors, she’s served in the community she’s lived in for 19 years, having relocated from West Virginia. She may not remember every name of her customers, but she easily connects their faces with what they ordered.

It’s been a successful first year at KM Creations, says Martin. Having been prepped in her restaurant years, it wasn’t like she didn’t know what she was getting into, but being understaffed now and then hasn’t been easy. “Seriously, I don’t know how I made it,” she said. “It’s been great, though!”

(KM Creations, 41934 unit 17, Hwy. 12, Avon, 252-986-5462, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues.-Sat.)

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