Black Footed Ferrets get a new home
Five critically endangered black footed ferrets were released on the Walker Ranch near Pueblo West Nov. 19, 2021.
Zachary Allen and Tracy Harmon, The Pueblo Chieftain
Everyone has that friend or relative who is impossible to surprise with a gift, so a retired Pueblo West teacher has come up with gifts she can customize to suit anyone.
Cheri Marten retired in June after 19 years of teaching at Desert Sage Elementary in Pueblo West and decided to turn her hobby into a business by launching I’ll Drink to That “Cakes.”
She makes the “cakes” using any beverage in a bottle or can, which she creatively stacks into three-tiered shapes that become an unusual gift, centerpiece and refreshment all in one.
It all started when she was looking for something unique for a neighbor. She spotted a “cake” kit online but realized with the help of her woodcutting-skilled husband, Scott, that she could make her own cakes without the kits.
Although she taught every grade except kindergarten and third in her 26-year teaching career, Marten never specialized in art. But growing up in a crafty family gave her the tools she needed to decorate the cakes.
Each cake has custom-cut wood that provides support to each layer, which Marten then spray paints and uses to assemble the cakes using 24 cans or bottles of the customer’s choice.
Next, she fires up the hot glue gun and adds ribbons, decorations and more.
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The results are unforgettable. Even after all the beverages have been consumed, there is a cherished keepsake — a Christmas tree ornament, toy, or artistic little sign that can be saved as a reminder of the occasion. Another unique part of the gift is that $1 from each cake is donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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“It is near and dear because we’ve had some friends and family members who have committed suicide — one was a very good friend of ours who was 17. We do the suicide prevention walk (fundraiser) every year and have donated to that for several years,” Marten said.
After the first cake she made for her neighbor, Marten made several others for friends and family members who suggested the gifts would be a great idea for a business.
“I was retired and wanted something to do, so that’s how it started,” she said. “The original intent was to do booze cakes with beer and mixed drinks, but I have had a lot of interest for kids parties as well, so I have done them with Gatorade and soda and recently I did a baby shower cake with baby food jars.”
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“If someone is sick, we could do cans of soup. I can just do anything that is in a can, jar or bottle,” Marten said. “I have lots of ideas and the possibilities are limitless.”
Each board the couple purchases is enough to make about 10 cakes. Pegs are put on the bottom of the cake so they are easier to pick up and transport.
Marten is in the process of obtaining a liquor license pending a Dec. 13 hearing, so in the meantime, customers bring her the alcoholic beverages which she transforms into special gifts for $50. Each cake takes about three hours to assemble and is then picked up by the customer at her shop at 359 E. Enterprise Drive, Suite 9.
Marten also creates and donates the centerpieces for fundraisers. She estimates she is making 10 cakes each month but wants to grow the business to the point she is making 10 to 15 cakes per week.
“Everyone drinks something, even if it’s water, I can make a cake with bottles of water,” she said with a laugh.
When she obtains the liquor license, Marten will be able to start making ready-to-purchase inventory. Until then, she is meeting customers at the shop by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling or texting Marten at 719-250-6490.
Examples of her work can be seen on her I’ll Drink to That “Cakes” Facebook page.
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