When 2Tarts opened in 2010 in downtown New Braunfels, the area surrounding the bakery and coffee shop was a very different place. The two owners — and sisters — April Ryan and Ashley Landerman were no strangers to the city, but that also meant they recognized what they thought the city needed.
“Both of us went to high school here in New Braunfels, so we were both New Braunfels natives, and when we were going to high school here, there really wasn’t anything for us to do except for at IHOP or drive to San Marcos,” April said. “We really wanted to create something at 2Tarts that was a place where you could go, have a great cup of coffee and get a late night dessert.”
The shop started as a catering company in 2009, but the owners had bigger plans for a more permanent setup. The shop, which April says adopted the tagline “Cakes. Coffee. Tarts.” was something new on the downtown scene and made a splash on Castel Avenue which hadn’t seen much foot traffic from locals for a while.
“When we showed up on the block, the Phoenix Saloon had only been open like six months before us and McAdoo’s had only been open a year before us,” April said. “Of course, we had our great neighbors over at Myron’s — they had been kind of holding down the fort downtown for many years. But when we moved in we were in a virtually vacant building.”
The owners hoped to bring a gathering place for locals to enjoy downtown while finding a good cup of coffee and enjoy a treat.
In the years since, the area surrounding the shop has continued to attract new retail businesses and restaurants.
“Our building, it was just us for a long time, and it was great to see the explosion of growth in our little corner of Castell with several of the kind of insular lawyers’ offices and title offices slowly change into amazing retail shops like The Local and Got Toys,” April said. “And now we have a beautiful historic building right down the street from us. … Every year it gets better and better and the scene gets more robust
She pointed to the opening of the farmers market and Krause’s as a turning point for the downtown, saying it was a pivotal time for the growing downtown scene and 2Tarts.
“It just keeps going and going and it’s just so great to be a part of and be one of those people that stuck their necks out early on and said no, let’s make downtown an amazing place to be,” April said.
April said she served on the DTA board as president for three years and then as the past president for two years. She has also served with he organization in different capacities.
The business wasn’t immune to the effects of COVID-19, which forced many local businesses to close to the public for time being beginning in March.
April and Ashley took a look at their business model and adjusted accordingly to keep the business running while also keeping an eye on the safety of both their employees and the community. Much of this relied on a streamlined staff and reliance on an online store for customers to place orders.
“Once we got that online store functioning, we were able to bring back kind of a core staff,” April said. “We’ve been really conscious of not only what the state is saying about this pandemic, but also our safety and the weariness of our employees. … We really wanted to respect that fine line of being there for the community and offering our product — because people are still banging down on our door — but doing it in a way that keeps our staff safe.”
2Tarts is currently open five days a week but the dining area is still closed to customers. Customers are able to place orders online and pick up their products at the downtown store.
“We have about 50 percent of our staff back now,” April said.
The owners have plans to consider expanding ours further in June and will later consider opening the dining area to customers in July or August.