Photo Gallery | Local Cupcake Business Pays Recent Success Forward
Success stories in the current economy are something worth noting and admiring. The owners of a new cupcake shop on Madison's far west side have built their business over the past five years thanks to hard work and dedication, but they also had a little help along the way.
"It is amazing. We were shooting for this all along, but to have worked so hard to make this happen and finally to have it happen and doing so well is really gratifying and surprising," said co-owner Wade Stewart.
Stewart and his long-time girlfriend Laura DeVries started out baking in their kitchen, doling out cupcakes to family and friends.
Cupcakes A Go Go was born thanks to some big opportunities.
Their first real job got them moving. They were licensed and found kitchen space to rent at Golden Days Company. Goldan Days served as an incubator business, allowing Cupcakes A Go Go to complete giant orders for weddings and business functions.
"They were really gracious and helpful, and allowed us to occupy part of their kitchen with our equipment and use some of their refrigerator space and really help get the ball rolling," Steward said.
Low rent kept overhead down and ultimately gave them the chance to open the Cupcakes A Go Go Café on Mineral Point Road last fall.
"We could not have done the things we did without that space," Stewart said. "Having an actual kitchen space to bake our cupcakes in and promote ourselves was crucial."
They've gone from one employee to a staff of eight. Overhead expenses are up, but sales have also increased drastically over the past 10 weeks, Stewart said.
But it's not just the cupcakes sales that are up. A little case in the corner and a space in the kitchen are devoted to two sisters trying to start up a pie-baking business.
"Because of our gratitude to Golden Days, we wanted to pay that kindness forward to other food entrepreneurs and offer space in our kitchen to someone else who might be looking to start up," Stewart said.
"We're from the south and pie is an everyday event there, so we thought we'd bring that here," said Humble Sweet and Savory Pies co-owner Jill Long. "On a whim, I emailed Laura and it all went on from there."
Humble Sweet and Savory Pies opened in July.
"Having Wade and Laura, that really helped us," Long said. "They answer questions constantly with the greatest amount of patience. We're just really grateful."
Long and her sister, Shelly, worked at Golden Days alongside Cupcakes A Go Go for a while and followed them to their new store.
"We got this wonderful position here," Long said. "We have our own case, so we are getting a lot of exposure, so it is really nice for us."
The cost is low enough that the sisters are able to go slow, growing their business with online sales. Long said they are hoping to soon to be in local grocery stores, including the Jenifer Street Market and Metcalfe's.
Long said the slow and steady approach is smart as it is fiscally responsible.
"We haven't actually borrowed any money from a bank," Long said. "We are paying for things as we go, and we have no debt. We can build up our business slowly and it gives us a chance to let people get to know us and get a market before we get our own shop."
Long and her sister love their current home, but they have big goals of a store of their own.
"We want to have a place where the community can come in and enjoy themselves, read a book and listen to music," Long said. "But I think paying it forward is really important to us because it just gives people a chance to get started."
They said they would love to help another company like they have been helped, and like the owners of Cupcakes A Go Go were helped as well.
"To be able to help nurture another business so that they succeed is very gratifying," Stewart said.