Women’s History Month Small Business Highlight: Frost Bake Shop
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Frost first began in 2004 in the apartment of Kristi Kloos’s in-laws and has now expanded to two retail shops with another one in the process of being opened. I asked Kloos, the co-owner, what made her and her husband go into business with her in-laws. “We moved here from St. Louis in 2002. His parents decided that they wanted to move closer to family, they were out in Arizona….So they moved here and they’re just a foodie family,” she told me with a smile, “I married into a foodie family for sure. So I remember going over to their house when we were dating and seeing just, it wasn’t fancy food, but it was so good.”
Frost is the Chick-fil-A of bakeries, as described by Kloos. When I stepped into Frost’s Collierville location, I was quickly greeted by a smiling employee and a glass case full of sweet treats. They had a few employees at the counter helping customers and a few more employees in the back working as I sat down at one of their tables with Kloos. The bakeshop workers bustled around behind us while Kloos reminisced, “[The Kloos family] ha[s] their own cookbook of recipes that they’ve collected, I think they’re on their third edition.” Bill Jr., Kloos’s husband, started at 14 working in his parents’ restaurant and fell in love with baking. Together with Kristi, who was a teacher previous to owning Frost, they opened a retail store in East Memphis and she runs the front of house. Kloos was kind enough to answer some questions for me.
Q: Could you describe what your day-to-day looks like once you come into the store?
A: I [work] as management, running the store. So, my role and responsibility is to run the front of house. So, guest services…I go from store to store, I make sure the management team is working properly and following the protocols. I also manage the wedding department.”
Q: As a woman, do you feel that you have faced more hardships in running a business than the men in the industry?
A: There’s roles that [Bill Jr.] has and roles that I have. For example, at home, I pay the bills but at work, he pays the bills. He orders the food and at home, he’s the one making the food and I do the dishes. We have our own roles so I don’t feel like it’s been harder for me, but I do have a male counterpart with me. I’m going to say no, but again, I’m in a partnership.
Q: What do you do to overcome the pressure of owning a business? What do you do to relax?
A: So, we talk about self-care here. I think it’s important that when you’re off, you’re off, and that’s hard for me because I usually work every day even if it’s on the weekend and someone sends me a text message, I’m going to be available for that. I believe in an open-door policy. But, there are certain things I do for myself. I love yoga and I plan that on the weekends, on Saturday and Sunday. That’s another thing I’ve recently done for me, is taking myself off the schedule on Saturdays and Sundays. So now I have that time with my family. But for me, I love doing yoga and meditation, I even do meditations in the car on the way here, obviously with my eyes open. Just to kind of calm and center myself because restaurants and food services can get very hectic, you know, there’s a line out the door and you feel the pressure and maybe you’re short-staffed that day, it can be a lot of pressure. I look at things and I can only do one thing at a time. We all can multitask, but if I’m going to be really effective then I’m gonna focus on one thing at a time. I keep lists, I’m a big list maker, I’m very color-coded and organized.
Q: What advice would give you a woman wanting to start a business?
A: Don’t give up. We pride ourselves on the process of continuous improvement and seeing it from myself, cause I’ve had that attitude of like “alright, I'm done. I can’t do this anymore” I just want to throw in the towel and be like, “whatever,” but you can’t do that. You don’t go anywhere if you don’t learn from what’s hindering you. I think a lot of people get hung up on the emotion of that and they don’t move forward. It’s learning how to say, “ok, there’s the emotion, I dealt with that and now I’m going to deal with what’s wrong and how I can fix it.”
Q: Do you guys plan on continuing to expand or move outside the Memphis surrounding area?
A: Right now, we’re focusing on Lakeland. We’ve met with somebody before about franchising but we just don’t know if we really fit that model since everything is made at Bartlett in-house, which is so important to us. I had a guest yesterday who emailed and said, “please come out to Southaven, please, we need something out here.” We’ve had a lot of wedding guests who are getting married in Oxford, Mississippi, so, you know, we’ve talked about the option of maybe if we don’t franchise we would see what we can do to expand for either shipping or having more delivery.
Q: What do you think makes you uniquely Memphis?
A: One thing is my dad. He used to travel and he would come here for some of his business trips and he always talked about how Memphis people are so friendly and they’re the nicest people. One thing that I think is so important is guest services. We call them guests because we want you to be treated like you’re a guest, this is our house and we want to welcome you into our house. So, I think for me, it has to be that genuine kindness. I want people to feel loved and welcome. Do unto others what you want to be done to you. How would I want to be treated when I walked in? I think with Memphis, I think of that southern hospitality but I’m just going to call it hospitality.
Check out the Frost Website and follow Frost on Facebook and Instagram. Are you a female small business owner and want to be highlighted on our blog? Reach out to The Profit Link today. Check out our blog to read more stories of business owners overcoming adversity.