By Jeff Pack

Oak Grove Center opens Culinary Creations in Truax Building


Last updated 1/10/2019 at 8:51pm

Jeff Pack photo

Bernie Truax talks to the students about the opportunity in front of them at the Culinary Creations shop.

The stars had to align just right for the Oak Grove Center to open its new Culinary Creations bakery and coffee shop inside the Truax Building in Old Town Temecula.

When the sweet shop tenant that occupied the building space vacated a couple of months ago, it left an opening.

But it wasn't until the guy who is in charge of the building – Bernie Truax, president and CEO of Truax Development – suggested to Oak Grove Center CEO Tammy Wilson that the culinary program at the school could make a go of it.

"I'm a sucker for good works," Truax said. "Oak Grove does a lot of good work. I want to give them a shot. We had the opportunity, and Tammy is one of the few doers of what she says, not just sayer of great ideas and then tell you why it couldn't happen.

"And I appreciate that in her. She's done miraculous things up there at that school, in the time I've known her, she just, she just makes it work," Truax said.

Initially, the idea was floated to have an Oak Grove coffee and cookies cart located inside the building, but when the space opened up, that's when Truax suggested the idea and would help them get started by gifting a short span of covered rent.

"I said, 'Take a look, see if you could use that,' and the goal was to bake the cookies somewhere else, make the coffee somewhere else and sell it from the counter," he said. "Well, she took it to another level, and I'm glad she did."

Wilson said she and her staff pounced on the offer and got to work.

She and her team then brought a business plan to Truax and showed him what she had in mind.

"He is a great guy," Wilson said. "We did a little follow up where I took the kids, right before Thanksgiving, and we took Thanksgiving pies and served it to him."

Wilson said she thinks that impromptu meeting sealed the deal for Truax.

"He pretty much spilled the beans right there with the kids," she said.

Wilson said that's when the process of obtaining a business license and getting insurance began. She said she had no idea how much went into opening a shop like this one.

With the help of benefactors and funding, Oak Grove was able to purchase the appliances needed for a working kitchen and recently, they got the go-ahead from the county health department to open for business.

Students already involved in the school's culinary program – those that have food handler's licenses – will be in a work-study program at the shop.

"Oak Grove will be using this as a training grounds for our kids with workability partnerships and vocational training," Wilson said. "Our goal is to launch some of these students into culinary, hospitality jobs in the future. They are super excited about it."

Truax said no matter how much he'd like to he can't gift the space away forever, he has financial relationships that preclude him from doing so. In the long run, he said, he wants the business to be self-sufficient.

"I can afford to give her the (opportunity), but in order for this to make sense, she's eventually got to pay rent," he said. "And I know they will make it work. I have faith in them."

Wilson said Culinary Creations will expand from cookies, coffee and desserts.

"We will be doing cinnamon rolls, specialty items, people can order cakes and private catering," she said. "So yes, we're super excited and wanting to spread the word that we're open."

Oak Grove Center Culinary Creations is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday inside the Truax Building at 41923 2nd Street, Suite 403, in Temecula.

For more information on Oak Grove Center, call (951) 677-5599 or visit

Jeff Pack can be reached at [email protected]

Jeff Pack photo

Bernie Truax poses for a photo with students and administrators from Oak Grove Center inside the new Culinary Creations bakery and coffee shop in Old Town Temecula.


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