Owner of Miss Ellie’s Cakes retires, hoping to pass the sweet legacy on
Scranton baker spent 19 years in business, taking over in 1995
For the past 19 years, Diane Flanagan’s day could be described as hectic. She would greet customers, take orders, bake cakes and cookies, and decorate cakes, all while maintaining her business. She knew firsthand what it was like to work a 19 hour day. But since Friday, Oct. 25, her daily routine has become a little less frantic and a little more laid back since retiring from Miss Ellie’s Cakes.
Miss Ellie’s Cakes, located at 127 West Market Street in Scranton, was originally started by Eileen King, who had named the business after her mother, Eleanor. She had moved the location of Miss Ellie’s Cakes several times due to business growth before finally making North Scranton its permanent home. Since King left the business, Miss Ellie’s has seen several different owners, but Flanagan has been the most recent.
Flanagan took an interest in baking and would practice making cakes from the comfort of her home; it was a hobby she enjoyed immensely. Her sister convinced her to take a cake decorating class to add a special touch to her pastries, and she fell in love with the creativity of decorating and practiced perfecting different design techniques.
She started by baking and decorating cakes for her family and friends until her hobby started to outgrow her kitchen. That was when she had found Miss Ellie’s Cakes for sale in the local newspaper. Flanagan had never owned a business before, but she knew it was a challenge she was ready and willing to accept. On Sept. 27, 1995, she officially became the new owner of Miss Ellie’s Cakes.
Flanagan used hard work, determination, and dedication as the key ingredients to make her business a success. It wasn’t always easy, but she persevered to grow the establishment into the thriving company it became. Flanagan’s cakes were popular and well-loved, becoming a staple at many family gatherings. The shop specialized in cakes for bridal showers, graduations, weddings, birthday parties, and just about any special occasion one could think of. There was a cake flavor to suit every taste, from the classic chocolate to Lafayette to icings such as peanut butter and buttercream. Miss Ellie’s also baked cookies, cupcakes, and pies.
The bakery wasn’t just known for its sugary goodness; it was known for how Flanagan presented the business.
“I grew the business the way I wanted it,” she says of its small mom-and-pop feel.
“Customers could say they felt they were at home because that’s how I made it.”
A step inside the bakery almost felt like she was baking in your own kitchen. She took pride in her business and worked hard to please the customers, accommodating their requests the best she could.
Making the recent decision to retire was tough for Flanagan. After her son’s wedding, though, she knew it was something she needed to do, and when she was presented with a fantastic opportunity, she knew that she couldn’t pass it up.
“I met wonderful people and watched families grow,” Flanagan stated. But, she knew it was time to watch her own family grow.
Flanagan started telling close family and friends of her decision to retire. She made the official announcement via Miss Ellie’s Cakes Facebook page, writing:
“It is with much sorrow and joy that I tell you that I am retiring this week. Time has come where I must move on to spend more time with my family and friends, things that I have not been able to do in 19 years. I will miss each and every one of you! I hope that you understand and wish me all the best. I cannot wait to start the rest of my life. Much love to all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The community reaction she received from social media was overwhelming. Her retirement post was shared throughout the country, from Washington to Florida. Longtime clients flooded her Facebook page to offer their love, appreciation, and well wishes.
Looking back, Flanagan reflected on some of her favorite memories. She loved seeing the customers’ reaction to her cakes and being able to make their special day just that much more special. Flanagan has baked well over 1,000 cakes in her 19 years at the shop, creating a wide assortment of cake designs, including Disney princesses, “Despicable Me” Minions, superheroes, and sports team logos. Her skills and talents were showcased in all of her creations.
“I had the pleasure of having different contact with all different people,” she remembers. She also loved being presented with many unique opportunities, such as the privilege of being asked to be a vendor at Taste of the Town in Carbondale and baking for the inaugural party for former Scranton mayor Chris Doherty.
Now that she is retired, Flanagan is looking forward to spending time with family and friends. She plans on traveling across the country to share quality time with loved ones and pursuing other passions.
“I worked long hours and long days, but I was doing something I enjoyed,” Flanagan says.
“I want to be able to start the rest of my life.”
Flanagan is still searching for someone with as much passion and dedication for baking as she has to take over Miss Ellie’s Cakes and hopes to find that special person soon to carry on the legacy.
“I was able to make someone happy with just a simple gesture of cake,” Flanagan notes. And, in turn, she was able to sweeten the lives of all she met.
by Lora Kormos
Swoyersville born and raised, Lora is a photographer, craft beer nerd, self-proclaimed foodie, and movie addict.