"Image" "Smallcakes" "Cupcake" "Olathe"

As I mentioned, I worked in a bakery for two years almost. Well…it’s not really a bakery so much as a “cupcakery”. Smallcakes sells only cupcakes.

The majority of the cakes are either chocolate or vanilla with the exception of the red velvet and carrot (which is to die for) cakes. However, the bulk of the flavors come from the icing – chocolate buttercream, cream cheese, cookies and cream. You name it, they’ve probably tried it.

Another fun fact about the store is all their cupcakes are made fresh daily. From the hours of 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. the bakers do not stop baking. I repeat: Do not stop baking. It is pure chaos back there when bakers are whipping and beating and frosting. However, it makes the store smell divine. Nothing quite like the whiffs of fresh out of the oven cupcakes to start your day.

"Image" "Smallcakes" "Olathe" "Cupcakes"

Oh you know, just me slaving away at work. What a hard lifestyle I lead.

Okay, so now you know a little backstory about that company. Let me divulge a few things I learned there. First and foremost: People are ridiculously protective of their cupcakes. We received borderline hostile phone calls daily because we weren’t offering their favorite flavors, their cupcakes tipped in the car, etc. It was a nightmare for me, someone incapable of rationally dealing with customer service. No really. I’d just stand there and stammer and mummer “I’m sorry” pathetically.

Another tip for future bakery (or cupcakery) owners: ALWAYSmake sure you have proper boxes. I can’t tell you how many times we got customers enraged – rightfully so – over the lack of boxes. Most of the time, inserts in the boxes stabilized the cupcakes. However, on a rare occasion, all we would have were boxes. No inserts. The employees loathed those days. You best be equipped to hear bitching and moaning the entire shift.

I know. I know. I painted the business in a beautiful light. Applaud me later. However, Smallcakes dreams of franchising, something quite unusual for mom-and-pop bakeries. The first store opened in Overland Park, Kansas. The owner, Jeff Martin, has family in Georgia. That’s where the idea to franchise set in. “Hrmmmmmm…” he though, casually munching on a cupcake, “Maybe my family in Georgia can taste this sometime.” And BAM! There began the idea to open nation wide. Currently, there are thirteen locations ranging from Kansas to California to Texas to, you guessed it, Georgia.

One of the neat things about the multiple different locations is the access to flavors. There is a standard of 15 flavors each store carries – the basics and simple flavors. However, each store often has its own set of daily specials. Aaaahhh…the daily specials. My favorite. They range from pumpkin to margarita, fruity pebbles, s’mores and peppermint. The creativity nestled in the business strives with the daily specials. We had many customers call begging for their favorite specials. I would kindly tell them to check the other Kansas stores to see what they carried. If they didn’t have it, tough toenails! An exceeding amount of options open up with multiple stores and franchising. Watch Jeff talk about a new store opening and teach a newscaster to frost below:

This all sounds fine and dandy, but you’re thinking, “Well, I’ve never heard of them, so how good can they be?” Listen here, people. Smallcakes is somewhat of a big deal in the media – or at least to us Kansans. It all started out when Jeff went on “Cupcake Wars” on Food Network. In the first round of the show, Jeff got all the way to the judging table when he realized he forgot one of the required ingredients, pumpkin. Funny side note, the judges said they wouldn’t have known he left it out had he not done the moral thing by mentioning it. They were that darn tasty.

After that minor detail mistake, Jeff went onto The View. Well, technically he didn’t go on but the cupcakes were front and center. Sherri Shepherd emphatically stated “This is a red velvet cupcake right here.” Needless to say we were a tad proud in my household for my supposed brief claim to fame (Yeah, okay! I just work there, but those cupcakes are the closest I will get to ever being on TV).

Cupcake Wars Round 2 occurred a year after the first one. If he won, he got to serve cupcakes at the Grammy’s. This time, Jeff just didn’t meet the standards. He faced elimination in the second round. Don’t be saddened, people! According to USA Today, Smallcakes is one of the top ten places to try a gourmet cupcake. That’s right. USA Today. How exciting.

One of the standout traits of Smallcakes is its implementation of social media. They use Facebook, Twitter and Foresquare. The Facebook page contains deals, like be the first to say “Crazy Day” to get a free dozen, that helps draw customers in. I can’t tell you how many times I had people chanting wild phrases to me. Not only did the people get free merchandise but also I got a big kick out of it to boot. In addition, they post mouthwatering pictures of the specials that day. Go on. Look. Salivate. Eat.

If you’re even in Kansas or any of the other locations, go and check it out. I can attest they are supreme and delicious and worth it and calorie free too. No, I didn’t eat at least on a shift.  Okay, yes. Yes, I did. But they were just too stinking tasty to resist.