View Full Version : Cupcake Shop



donbroncho
09-03-2008, 06:49 AM
Hope this place does well...

Piece of cake - Promise to niece starts downtown cupcake bakery


By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

It was Easter 2007 and Toni Hoffman was doing what she always did with her niece Sara when the family gathered together making cupcakes.

This is, after all, not just any family but the descendants of legendary judge Joe Cannon.

"My family is very gregarious and loud," Hoffman said. "But my niece was the shy one. And for years, we baked cupcakes it was our own special thing."

Just as Hoffman was showing Sara Brinson how to create a carrot design atop a cupcake, the 18-year-old made a vow to her aunt: "You and I are going to run a cupcake shop together someday." Hoffman was puzzled she repeated what Brinson said to make sure she heard her correctly.

"Yeah," Brinson said, "that's all you and I know how to do."

'I made a promise'

The next day, Brinson died from sudden cardiac arrest. Three months later, Hoffman was watching "Jimmy Kimmel Live" when she heard the host discuss the reason he loved Los Angeles the city's cupcake bakeries. Hoffman called her sister Dana, Sara's mother, after the late-night show was over and pitched Sara Brinson's idea. Dana Brinson reminded Hoffman they didn't know how to operate a bakery.

"I don't care," Hoffman said, "I made a promise we'll figure it out."

And that, Hoffman said, is the start of the story of how she decided to open Sara Sara Cupcakes. The location for this new venture, a dilapidated 102-year-old house at 7 NW 9, is yet another story. The property is part of a stretch of properties being redeveloped by Steve Mason, owner of the Iguana Mexican Grill, Earl's Rib Palace and Cardinal Engineering.

Background to property

For months Mason had been conflicted over whether to tear the buildings down. He wanted to save them, but the experts couldn't agree on whether that was even feasible. Just opening the Iguana Mexican Grill at 9 NW 9 was considered risky because it was off the beaten path. But in the past several weeks since it opened, the restaurant has enjoyed crowds for both lunch and dinner.

He had already spent more than $50,000 to "clean up" and evaluate the soundness of the house at 7 NW 9. "It's like the story of the mouse who started with a cookie," Mason jokes. He's spending another $290,000 to get the job done, which will be topped with another $100,000 being spent by Hoffman, her family and friends to finish out the space and turn it into a cupcake bakery.

"I am a huge fan of downtown Oklahoma City," Hoffman said. "I grew up down here, my dad (Joe "Cannonball" Cannon) was a district judge and I spent my summers downtown. It would have been a lot easier to go into a strip mall or someplace brand new, but Steve Mason and I are friends, and when he bought up this area and started the Iguana with my friends Robert Painter and Ryan Parrott, I walked through with them and I said 'There's Sara Sara next door.'"

How project grew

Hoffman said the building's rough exterior is deceptive. She promises it will be beautiful once the renovation is complete. Painter, general manager of the Iguana, said he recently visited with a customer who lived in the house and recalled when the block was filled with fine homes. The future home of Sara Sara Cupcakes, the customer said, was leased to nursing students in the 1950s and 1960s.

Hoffman said the house is being restored as much as possible. Century-old bricks from the foundation are being re-used for a front patio. Hoffman said she will move her residence to the second floor.

The project, Hoffman said, has given the family a chance to honor Sara Brinson and also gather and heal their grief. Each Sunday they get together to plan for the opening of their shop, scheduled for this fall. They've even recruited a cousin who is a chef in Chicago to help on recipes. The family also located a machine that will provide customers with frosty pint-sized glasses of flavored milk.

"We're going to make cupcakes, have some fun, and see what happens," Hoffman said. "Yes, it's crazy. This was Sara's idea. I'm just carrying it out."

Martin
09-03-2008, 07:16 AM
wow. that building is gonna need some tlc... i'm surprised it can be salvaged.

-M

metro
09-03-2008, 07:23 AM
This was also mentioned a few months back in the Iguana Grill thread. I believe there are pics in there for those interested. It's been under rehab for a little while now. If not, I"ll post pics soon as I recently took some. Thanks for posting this updated article!

Luke
09-03-2008, 07:26 AM
Unique idea... I like it!

FritterGirl
09-03-2008, 07:35 AM
What a great story. Can't wait to check it out when it opens!

Platemaker
09-03-2008, 08:39 AM
At the most recent New Leaf art show Sara Sara cupcakes were being served. I tried the Key lime flavor... pretty tasty.

Side note... it was pretty comical watching people (including myself) sip champagne while attempting to eat those ENORMOUS cupcakes.... icing all over my suit.

metro
09-03-2008, 08:40 AM
FYI..they are also on the dessert menu at Iguana Grill.

Luke
09-03-2008, 08:41 AM
...ENORMOUS cupcakes...

I'm even more interested now.

mecarr
09-03-2008, 08:51 AM
There was a place in Washington DC I went a couple times called "the love cafe" or something similar, and all they did was serve cupcakes. It seemed to be pretty successful.

Platemaker
09-03-2008, 08:59 AM
Cupcakes are IT!!!
I read this recently... it was on the front page of the Journal Record.

Cupcake Craze Enters Tulsa Market

Journal Record (Oklahoma City)
August 15, 2008

In times of economic struggles the simple taste of cupcakes can bring back warm memories of carefree times.
Cupcakes date back centuries and still have the same simple ingredients of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.

But in recent years, cupcakes have transcended child's play to appear in upscale bakeries across the country. From coast to coast, bakery owners capitalize on the dessert craze by choosing to open a store dedicated exclusively to cupcakes.

Cupcakes are miniature cakes, but Doreen Durano hopes her cupcake store will not have miniature sales. All of her cupcakes are made from scratch, and she calls each confection a little piece of heaven.

"Food just conjures up incredible memories of celebration - every wedding, birthday, have a cake," said Durano, owner of Kupcakz. "Cupcakes are just miniature things and when you look at a cupcake it's a miniature cake. Everyone seems to love miniature things."

Before venturing into the small business world, Durano had aspirations to be a chemical engineer, but when that didn't work out she decided to fall back on her baking skills. She studied at the Culinary Academy in San Francisco and cooked at the Ritz Carlton in Las Vegas.

After her boyfriend saw The Cupcakery in Vegas do gangbuster business, he suggested to Durano she should open her own cupcake specialty store. Durano was afraid another cupcake store might not be successful and was concerned about the price it would cost to open a business in Vegas.

Pamela Jenkins, who opened The Cupcakery in Las Vegas two years ago, said it was a tough process to launch the concept of a bakery solely dedicated to cupcakes. She said at least three landlords rejected her. Once she was able to find a spot, she said the first day the store opened its doors she sold out of cupcakes, proving to her she was fulfilling a niche.

"Our quality is the difference, anyone in the world can jump on a trend and be the next big thing," she said. "But if the quality of the product is not there, it never will be."

Durano became intrigued by the idea of opening her own bakery, and since she had twin daughters living in Tulsa, she decided to open her store here. It took about a year to draw up a business plan and come up with all of her recipes.

Durano anticipates her 1,600-square-foot space will be open within in the next couple of weeks.

"Opening a cupcake shop, the first of its kind in Tulsa seemed to be a natural thing to do," she said. "Our goal is if the city can support it to open two or three here and one in Oklahoma City."

Though the city appears to have a lack of cupcake specialty shops, Lindsey Stewart, owner of Hello Cupcake, has been producing her specialty cupcakes since April. Right now she is working at a private kitchen, but is looking to move into a store when she finds the right space.

She said word of mouth and her Web site have helped her generate orders every week for her cupcakes.

"I get orders almost three to four times a week, so it's kind of building," she said. "I could have nothing and then I have a huge order. But it's been pretty steady for the past four months."

While the city has gone from lacking cupcake specialty bakeries to possibly having two, Stewart said she is not worried about the competition factor. She said the taste of her cupcakes allows her to stand apart.

Jenkins, who is getting ready to launch a third store in Dallas, said she doesn't think the recent cupcake craze will end anytime soon.

"I think there are going to be so many cupcake stores open in the next few years it's not even funny," she said. "People are just tired of getting everything at chains, when you get homemade you get something pure."

onthestrip
09-03-2008, 10:41 AM
Cupcakes seem to be the food du jour. Lots of cupcake bakeries have opened all over the country. There is always some trendy new food that becomes the hot new thing, and apparently cupcakes is the new fad. Just like mini burgers did 2 years ago and the burrito did 5 years ago.

metro
09-03-2008, 10:53 AM
Cupcakes have been a trend for several years. I wouldn't say they are the new trend, they were so 2-3 years ago. All the foodies nationwide are saying Bacon is the next/new trend. Chocolate covered bacon (popping up everywhere and all over the Food Network), bacon cocktails, etc. Weird I know, but I didn't make this stuff up. Just Google food trend and you'll get several articles in the top results. The other latest food trends are using liquid nitrogen to alter the molecular makeup of food and transform it in ways otherwise not possible if not for the extremely low temperatures. We're just way behind the coasts and other major metro's.

Look at places like Sprinkles, Kara's and other boutique chains. For those cupcake affectianado's, there are a few other threads discussing this more in depth. The best ones I've ever had are the gourmet ones at Ghiradelli Square in San Fran. I believe it was a Kara's.

Kara's Cupcakes (http://karascupcakes.com/)

Had the Fleur de Sal and the Sweet Vanilla. Amazing. They melt in your mouth completely. I'd give some cash for a few right now. The best part about Kara's is they are truly a notch above any cupcakes you've ever had and still use local ingredients.

millionsrmine
09-03-2008, 11:02 AM
Do you know the owners? Have you eaten there?

Just curious why you are promoting them. :)

progressiveboy
09-03-2008, 11:02 AM
This would be a great concept filling a "niche" that currently is not in OKC. Yes, gourmet cupcakes seem to be the latest craze, escpecially unique flavors and decorated works of arts, not your average typical ones. In fact, the owner of "Sprinkles" cupcakes that started in Beverly Hills??? (I think) is a native and former resident of OKC. Maybe he can be convinced to to put a "Sprinkles" in OKC.

metro
09-03-2008, 11:05 AM
Sprinkles is coming to OKC progressiveboy, they have tentatively committed to Nichols Hills Plaza within 2 years. Right now it's leased out and expected massive renovations are underway. It's also possible they could relocate in McClendon's other nearby upscale retail project, Classen Curve. I'll see if I can dig up the old thread on Sprinkles to OKC.

http://www.okctalk.com/okc-metro-area-talk/11051-vote-sprinkles-okc.html?highlight=Sprinkles

start on page 3 of this one:

http://www.okctalk.com/okc-metro-area-talk/8210-chesapeake-empire-marches-3.html?highlight=sprinkles+cupcakes#post106664

progressiveboy
09-03-2008, 11:14 AM
Sprinkles is coming to OKC progressiveboy, they have tentatively committed to Nichols Hills Plaza within 2 years. Right now it's leased out and expected massive renovations are underway. It's also possible they could relocate in McClendon's other nearby upscale retail project, Classen Curve. I'll see if I can dig up the old thread on Sprinkles to OKC.

http://www.okctalk.com/okc-metro-area-talk/11051-vote-sprinkles-okc.html?highlight=Sprinkles

That would be great. The "Sprinkles" located in Dallas at NW Highway and Preston Road does a brisk, bustling business. I think it is due to being close to the affluent Park Cities areas and close to Northpark Center. I believe if and when Sprinkles does open shop in OKC then the NH area would be the most logical, prime location to put it.

betts
09-03-2008, 11:32 AM
I'm excited about this. It would be great to have a Sprinkles, and I believe the owner is a Casady graduate. But, this is even better, IMO. The fact that the owner is renovating an old house, will live in and have the shop downtown is exciting.

kmf563
09-03-2008, 11:34 AM
I've seen the bacon craze too. It's the big hit at all the state fairs this year. Chicken fried bacon. Chocolate dipped bacon.
I'd much rather have a cupcake! And a big one. I'm not looking towards Sprinkles...sounds to me like a starbucks cupcake chain. Overpriced and under special. I would rather support a local.

progressiveboy
09-03-2008, 11:43 AM
I've seen the bacon craze too. It's the big hit at all the state fairs this year. Chicken fried bacon. Chocolate dipped bacon.
I'd much rather have a cupcake! And a big one. I'm not looking towards Sprinkles...sounds to me like a starbucks cupcake chain. Overpriced and under special. I would rather support a local.

Well then, you can always go to the Wonder "Thrift" store and get your fix on Ding Dongs or Hostess Twinkies............................Just Kidding!!!

Martin
09-03-2008, 11:44 AM
i'm not looking towards sprinkles...sounds to me like a starbucks cupcake chain. overpriced and under special. i would rather support a local.
i'm with you on that. while i'd try sprinkles if/when they come to town, i'm way more excited about a local player.

-M

kmf563
09-03-2008, 11:51 AM
...get your fix on Ding Dongs

hehe. I'm not even touching that comment. Although, I DO go to the outlet to get those when they will all be eaten in one day by my son and his growing friends.

I will try the Sprinkles place, I just have a feeling it's going to be one of those things that is so hyped up that it doesn't meet my expectations.

progressiveboy
09-03-2008, 12:02 PM
hehe. I'm not even touching that comment. Although, I DO go to the outlet to get those when they will all be eaten in one day by my son and his growing friends.

I will try the Sprinkles place, I just have a feeling it's going to be one of those things that is so hyped up that it doesn't meet my expectations.

I have been to Sprinkles, currently priced at $3.25 each. Yes, it may be a bit pricey for a cupcake,however they are incredibly tasty and worth the occasional treating myself. There Red Velvet cupcakes and their Banana Nut cupcakes are incredible, very fresh and you can taste the quality.

metro
09-03-2008, 01:25 PM
So far, I haven't had anything close to being as good as Sprinkles or Kara's. The locals are good (and normally I support them over chains), but so far they haven't made a gourmet melt in your mouth cupcake like Kara's....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . Saturn Grill and a few other restaurants around town have tried to cash in on the cupcake craze by offering them on their menu, but so far, they don't even come close to the chains.

angel27
09-03-2008, 08:27 PM
after the talk on here about specialty cupcakes I tried to order some online, not sure which one. But they couldn't mail them. Count me in when Sara Sara opens and probably Sprinkles too.

metro
09-08-2008, 02:53 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2388/2841078600_f2b4e53ebc.jpg?v=0

Stinger
09-08-2008, 08:46 PM
I went to Sprinkles in Beverly Hills on Saturday. Good stuff. We had red velvet, banana and strawberry.

jbrown84
09-09-2008, 12:53 PM
A-Alley is really shaping up.

CCOKC
09-09-2008, 01:03 PM
I agree. Kudos to the Iguana people on their choice of location. It has already spurred the cupcake shop. It was a huge risk that seems to have paid off. This little side street with interesting buildings and mature trees is a true treasure. I would think little boutique shops could work here as well.

donbroncho
09-09-2008, 02:39 PM
A-Alley is really shaping up.


My thoughts exactly. I predict that this area of the city has the potential to become one of the coolest areas in town in 10 years, if not earlier than that. I am excited on whats to come. Man I am lucky to be around to see all this happening in my town.

And BTW, for what its worth, one of my pipe dreams is to open a business of some sort in Automobile Alley or Midtown...stay tuned for details lol.

HOT ROD
09-13-2008, 03:55 AM
For those who haven't yet voted - please vote for Oklahoma City as the next location for Sprinkles Cupcakes. I could see a shop in Automobile Alley and/or Nichols Hills Plaza doing very very well!

The owner/founder is supposedly from OKC - so this should be a no-brainer for her, esp since she already has a shop in Dallas.

Anyways, here ist the link to vote - ::: Sprinkles Cupcakes Next Locations ::: (http://www.sprinklescupcakes.com/location_voting.php)

Vote, .... and vote often!!!!!!!

mecarr
09-13-2008, 04:10 PM
For those who haven't yet voted - please vote for Oklahoma City as the next location for Sprinkles Cupcakes. I could see a shop in Automobile Alley and/or Nichols Hills Plaza doing very very well!

The owner/founder is supposedly from OKC - so this should be a no-brainer for her, esp since she already has a shop in Dallas.

Anyways, here ist the link to vote - ::: Sprinkles Cupcakes Next Locations ::: (http://www.sprinklescupcakes.com/location_voting.php)

Vote, .... and vote often!!!!!!!

I voted.

wsucougz
09-21-2008, 06:40 PM
9/21/08:

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l16/wsucougz/City%2020080921/Picture010.jpg

http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l16/wsucougz/City%2020080921/Picture009.jpg

Martin
09-21-2008, 09:05 PM
WOW. loads of progress. i initially thought this building was barely salvageable. -M

elreylion
10-11-2008, 08:53 PM
why vote for sprinkles? We want the local peoplle to prosper. Keep out more corporations

PennyQuilts
09-15-2009, 08:52 AM
I want to give a shoutout to SaraSara Cupcakes. In July, a dear friend of mine lost her eleven year old son to cancer of the brain stem. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the folks at Sara Sara Cupcakes in Oklahoma City are focusing on Childhood Cancer every day in the bakery. They have turned out a delicious new flavor in recognition of the month and in memory of her son, Caleb. The new flavor is pink velvet. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these cupcakes will be donated to Just One More Day for Love, Hope & a Cure, a foundation that focuses on childhood cancer and research.

As has been pointed out, Sara Sara Cupcakes is located near downtown Oklahoma City -- on 9th street, just east of Broadway. Their website is sarasaracupcakes.com. Bless them for focusing on this subject - to lose a child to cancer is one of the most painful things any of us can imagine. To be honest, it frightens me to even think about it.

I wish I could stop by and pick up a few, myself. When I get back to town, they will be one of the first places I go to say thank you.

metro
09-15-2009, 08:57 AM
http://www.okctalk.com/food-restaurants/15043-sara-sara-cupcakes.html

PennyQuilts
09-15-2009, 09:02 AM
Oh thanks, Metro. I thought I'd seen a thread somewhere that mentioned SaraSara Cupcakes and now I wish I'd posted onto the one you linked.