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young Trent and Rhys
Rhys' first cream puff (with four-year-old Trent) circa 1986

Pacific Puffs was founded in 2009 by brothers Trent and Rhys Carvolth. The story of Pacific Puffs, however, goes back to before the guys were born. Way back to the 1970s, in fact, when their mom Noreen Carvolth perfected her recipe for classic cream puffs. The toast of dinner parties and special events, Mama’s cream puffs were a smashing success!

Fast forward to the mid 1980s when Trent and Rhys were born just a few years apart. Growing up in San Francisco’s North Bay area, the boys were quickly introduced to their mother’s famous desserts – cookies, cakes, and of course, cream puffs! (see picture). “I’m only hungry for dessert” was a common phrase heard in the Carvolth household. As the family favorite, cream puffs were always the requested dessert for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions.

Noreen in 1977
Mama, California coast, 1977

Upon graduation from college on the East Coast, the brothers returned to San Francisco to pursue careers in the corporate world. After a few years of taking the bus downtown to 9 to 5 it, the boys grew weary of a life filled with Excel sheets, cubicles, and quarterly reviews. Meeting for lunch one day to drown their sorrows in a couple grande burritos and a walk on the Embarcadero, Trent and Rhys daydreamed of a world where they could work together, have fun, and make people happy. The answer was simple: start a business.

But what? Noticing a trend in the food industry towards specialty desserts (cupcakes, frozen yogurt, etc.), a lightening bolt struck. A lightening bolt in the shape of a giant cream puff. The idea of starting a specialty bakery using her recipe was certainly a surprise for Mom. Especially coming from her boys who she once claimed “struggled to make grilled cheese.” The wheel was in motion and after many trials and tribulations in their home kitchens, Trent and Rhys had completed their apprenticeship and mastered the recipe. The puffs were perfect, but it took them over an hour to churn out a whopping 10–12 cream puffs. More R&D was required (to the delight of hungry friends and family), to create a process that would produce hundreds of puffs on a daily basis.

Trent and Rhys

During this time, the search for a retail location began. With the downturn in the economy in 2008 came a silver lining. A perfect spot right on the corner of Union and Fillmore became vacant and the brothers jumped at it. After months of construction and permitting rigmarole, Pacific Puffs opened for business on July 24th, 2009. The day started with 200 puffs in the display case and ended at 2pm with a hand written “Sold Out” sign posted on the door. Pacific Puffs never looked back.

Today, the brothers are thrilled to be paying homage to their Mom’s famous dessert and fulfilling their dream of working hard, having fun, and putting a smile on the face of every customer that walks through the door.