Sponsored by Oregon Business

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.”


More Articles

Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


Reader Input: Made in Oregon

November/December 2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Two trends dominate the manufacturing sector: onshoring and the rise of small-scale production manufacturing, known as the "maker economy."



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


Downtime with Patrick Criteser

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Live, Work Play with the President and CEO of Tillamook County Creamery Association.


Roll On

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The myth of a freight-dependent economy.


100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.


The death and life of American cities

Linda Baker
Monday, November 02, 2015
housingoldpdx thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The hollowing out of the American city is now a bona fide cultural meme.  Newspapers, magazines and digital media sites are publishing story after story about the morphing of urban grit and diversity into bastions of wealth and commodity culture.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02