Hannah Takes the Cake
Sabetha native Hannah Robinson opens a bakery — Pip’s Bake Shoppe — in Manhattan.
Of all the dreams Sabetha native Hannah Robinson had as a young girl, owning her own bakery really “took the cake.” So, in 2017, when an opportunity came up to make her dream come true, she didn’t hesitate — and Pip’s Bake Shoppe was born.
There are many different “tiers” to the Manhattan-based Pip’s Bake Shoppe. The shoppe specializes in unique, made-to-order cakes and desserts for all celebrations.
Weddings and large business events are definitely the area where Hannah will put the most focus, while still working to fit the needs of everyday clients’ birthday and party cakes.
“I love the art of baking… taking a bunch of different things and making something new,” Hannah said.
While cakes are her main focus, Hannah also enjoys baking pies, cookies and tarts and hopes to begin baking breads soon.
“Right now I’m on a French macaron kick!” Hannah said. “I love trying new things and perfecting them.”
It took her a while to get the recipe down, but once she did, there was no going back.
“I love all the different ways you can decorate them — hand painting designs on them is my favorite!” Hannah said.
Her current recipes come mainly from her former employer, but she also creates her own recipes by combining two or three different recipes.
“I love having research and development days in the bakery,” she said.
Right now, Hannah is the primary baker in her business. She is thankful for the help she receives from her fiancé Keith Sutton and her family. Within the next year, she hopes to hire someone to help her on a regular basis.
“I love local businesses,” Hannah said. “I love the idea of keeping what you do simple and doing it really, really well.”
That being said, Hannah adores Manhattan and the tight-knit community.
“I aspire to grow large enough to fit the needs of this town and the surrounding area while still providing personal attention to each and every customer,” she said.
Baking has always been one of the many ways Hannah enjoys showing her love to her family and friends. Hannah began baking when she was around 9 or 10 years old. She spent a lot of time learning from her Grandma Martha Robinson — also affectionately called “MomMom.”
“Grandma Robinson and my mother have always been huge inspirations to me,” Hannah said. “My grandmother still tells me about all the different wedding cakes she once created and my mother has always been my main artistic inspiration. She’s always worked to build a creative atmosphere in our house while growing up.”
One of Hannah’s earliest baking memories of baking was going over to her Grandma Robinson’s house to learn how to make bonbons. Grandma Robinson also baked wedding cakes herself when she was younger. Now in her 90s, she still loves to bake as long as her health allows.
“Hannah would visit her often at her home here in Sabetha, and they loved to talk about baking,” said Hannah’s mother Judi Robinson.
Judi’s own mother — Lenore Richards Simons, known as “Gramma” — also had a special relationship with Hannah. As a child, Judi says, Hannah was quite feisty.
On one particular day when Hannah was being “quite sassy,” she said her Gramma Lenore just looked at her and said, “Hannah, you’re a pip!”
Hannah’s response to Gramma Lenore’s comment was to shake her head full of curls and say, “No, Gramma, you’re a pip!”
The nickname stuck, each calling the other a Pip almost every time they spoke to one another. Even in Gramma’s final two years battling dementia, Judi said she still referred to Hannah as Pip, down to the last time they “face timed” each other a week before her passing.
“It was very special to Hannah,” Judi said.
While Hannah learned a lot from her Grandma Robinson, she learned even more while working for her previous employer — Rachel Benjamin.
Hannah worked for Rachel at 4 Cakes Bakery in Manhattan for a few years and examined Rachel’s work very closely.
“Hannah is one of the most genuine people I know. What you see is what you get,” Rachel said. “Honest, steadfast, hard-working, loyal, full of faith and life. She is an excellent baker and artist with a passion for serving others.”
Rachel is confident that Hannah will be a successful business owner, because she is not afraid of hard work and has a great support system.
“I’ve always told Hannah to never undervalue herself and realize the importance of her craft,” Rachel said. “She provides exceptional products baked from the heart — an extraordinary thing in this day and age of corporate, commissary made sweets.”
Rachel guided her own business this way and knew Hannah had the same passion.
When Rachel sold the business to Hannah, the sale included the bakery’s equipment and book of business.
Icing on the Cake
“I think we [Charlie and I] would share that Hannah is and always has been passionate about everything she does,” Judi said. “She is full of life, a joy to be around and incredibly talented and creative.”
When Hannah was struggling with a name for her bakery, she called her mother for advice.
“We spoke on the phone and I told her to pray about it, reminding her that is what Gramma would say to do, so she did,” Judi said.
Shortly thereafter, Hannah’s beloved “Pip” passed away and then a name idea hit her. As a way to honor her beloved grandmother, a lifelong nickname turned into a business name.
“Naming my business after such a marvelous woman was a precious way to honor her life and our memories together,” Hannah said.
Hannah gives this advice to others who are thinking about starting their own business.
1. Ask questions. Not one person knows everything
“At the very beginning, I was afraid of looking dumb. Then, two things hit me. One, if it’s between looking dumb and failing at my business, why on Earth would I choose failing? I don’t care if I ask a silly question as long as I get my answer,” Hannah said. “Two, along with that, not one person knows everything. We are all experts in very different areas of life. How are you to know everything about where you haven’t been yet?”
2. Stay humble.
“Keep an open mind and heed the advice and wisdom of those who have gone before you,” Hannah said.
Originally from Sabetha, Hannah is the third of five daughters born to Charlie and Judi Robinson of Sabetha.
Aside from baking, Hannah loves art.
“I enjoy painting in my free time and going to art museums when I can,” she said.
Spending time with friends and family, watching movies and eating ice cream make for a perfect day in Hannah’s mind.
For more information about Pip’s Bake Shoppe, contact Hannah by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at https://pipsbakeshoppe.com. Follow her on Facebook at Pip’s Bake Shoppe and Instagram at @pipsbakeshoppe.
Krista Wasinger71 Posts
Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.