Cupcake bakeries succeed in stale economy

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010

CupcakeEven in these sour economic times, people are still willing to pay for some sweets.

With the exception of Portland’s St. Cupcake, whose 2009 sales were up only $200 over 2008, cupcake bakeries around the state report increased sales in the past year, perhaps making artisan cupcakes as much an escapist item as movie-going during the Great Depression. Two bakeries are even moving out of home kitchens and into retail space.

Artisan cupcake bakeries are a recent phenomenon in Oregon and a growing niche market with about half a dozen bakeries in the state.

St. Cupcake owner Jami Curl says the “definite craze” for cupcakes is growing. “I think cupcakes have become fashionable,” says Liz Marek, the owner of Artisan Cake Company in Keizer.

Owners attribute the success to a number of factors.

“They’re inexpensive, and they’re a great treat,” says Ida Gurule, the owner of Ida’s Cupcake Café in Bend.

And the variety of flavor, cake, and frosting combinations, such as Albany’s Rocket Queen Cupcakes “Squealer” cupcake — a vanilla cake with bacon, maple butter cream and a piece of candied bacon on top — appeal to the eyes as well as the stomach, making spending a couple dollars on something you could get for a dollar at Safeway palatable.

St. Cupcake charges $1.25 and $2.50 for mini and regular-sized cupcakes. Cupcake Jones, Portland’s second cupcake bakery, sells its “jumbo” cupcakes for $3.25 and $1.25 for mini ones.

“It’s the cute factor. They’re just so adorable. People really enjoy the whole bite-sized-cake idea,” says Marek.

Gurule sees as many 100 customers daily, and sales have increased by 100% in the last year, which she attributes to word of mouth, increased advertising and a location on a busy downtown street next to a popular restaurant.

Thaddeus Moore, co-owner of the Divine Cupcake in Eugene, says sales are “down a little bit,” but they are expanding beyond a home kitchen this March after being open for three years. “We’re doing pretty good, actually,” he says.

“It’s an affordable indulgence,” Curl says. “Everyone can seem to justify it.”

AMANDA WALDROUPE
 

More Articles

Reader Input: Rx for Health Care

July/August 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers how Obamacare has impacted their business.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS