Oh, sweet cupcakes… How I love thee…
Now that I am a small business owner and an aspiring food specialist, I enjoy walking into a new food business and taking in the sights and smells, feeling the energy and the passion that it took to build the establishment. You can’t help but let some of that excitement rub off on you and be inspired to even greater things in your own business or dream of ways that this business can enhance your life.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Adell Cothorne and Bill Kerlina, owners of Cooks ‘N Cakes in Ellicott City, Maryland. Cooks ‘N Cakes specializes in cupcakes… Excellent, fresh-baked and decadently yummy cupcakes that scream, “EAT ME!”
Did I mention that the cupcakes are awesomely delicious? (I say this as I wipe the last of the marshmallow frosting from the corner of my mouth… what’s left of a “S’more Please” cupcake, pictured front/left above).
Say what you want about food fads and the recent rise in popularity of cupcakes. There’s always room in any town for a bakery that can produce fresh products like this, cupcakes that should shame the big chain grocery stores from producing the nasty stuff that they expect us to buy, adorned with rainbow sprinkles and day-glo frosting.
Pictured above are just four of the many flavors that Cooks ‘N Cakes provides:
- front/left: S’more Please - Devils food cake and marshmallow frosting with graham cracker crumb topping
- front/right: Banana Split - Banana cupcake with strawberry and chocolate buttercream frosting and a cherry
- rear/left: Berry Good - Vanilla cupcake filled with strawberries, vanilla buttercream frosting and a strawberry on top
- rear/right: Something’s Bacon - Cornmeal cupcake with bacon infused maple buttercream, garnished with bacon
I admit to thoroughly enjoying each of these cupcakes! Hats off to the chefs for creating these little delights that each have a unique character and taste to them! My favorite was the “Berry Good”… an exceptionally light vanilla cupcake with a delicate buttercream and really showed-off the baker’s skills.
Four flavors down… and how many to go? I can’t see making another trip down Rt. 40 in Ellicott City without stopping in to Cooks ‘N Cakes to try even more flavors. If I need a quick gift or a dessert for unexpected guests, this place will be on my short list, for sure!
Cooks ‘N Cakes is located in at 9251 Baltimore National Pike (Rt. 40) in Ellicott City… In the same building as the big Starbucks. Skip the over-priced baked goods at Starbucks and take home some cupcakes!
The word of the day is "lagniappe", as it comes with every order made from CrunchDaddy Popcorn!
We include a little something extra with each purchase, usually a sample or two of other flavors or a free upgrade to a larger size of something that you ordered (Did you think that was done by mistake? No no!)
From Wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagniappe:
"A lagniappe ( /ˈlænjæp/ lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, ‘something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.’
The word entered English from Louisiana French, in turn derived from the American Spanish phrase la ñapa (‘something that is added’ ). Although this is an old custom, it is still widely practiced today in Louisiana. Street vendors, especially vegetable vendors, are expected to throw in a few green chillies or a small bunch of cilantro with a purchase.”
(…a look at our fancy new vinyl sign for use at shows!)
Greetings to friends and fans of CrunchDaddy Popcorn!
A company blog like this is worthy of more frequent updates and I promise to post more information from here on. I want for this blog to be the place where the story of CrunchDaddy Popcorn’s evolution is told and where I share the ups and downs of my entrepreneurial venture. Lately there has been much to tell and far too little time to tell it… but that’s a good problem to have!
In order to bring folks up to date with what’s going on at CrunchDaddy Popcorn, I should tackle the question I hear most frequently of late: “How’s it going?”
Overall, for a company that has been open less than five months and being run by a first-time entrepreneur, things are going very well! Prior to opening the company on January 1, 2012 it would have been impossible to make projections as to the quantity and frequency of sales. However, I can say that the volume of business has well exceeded what I would have expected or projected. Further, the amount of repeat business that we are experiencing from customers locally and throughout the U.S. and Canada has been astounding.
With that said, and while I am proud of the progress that CrunchDaddy Popcorn has made thus far, it remains a part-time venture for me. Even though it feels like every waking hour is being spent on some kind of activity for CrunchDaddy Popcorn (and thus feels like a second “full-time” job), the sales volume is not yet sufficient to provide me with a full-time income… but that is the goal, to develop CrunchDaddy into a thriving business that can support me as well as my employees.
The future looks tremendously bright as sales and public acclaim for CrunchDaddy Popcorn products continue on a steadily upward trend. Enthusiastic reviews and comments about CrunchDaddy Popcorn come to us on a daily basis, through social media, our website and email. Positive comments are enough to make any modest entrepreneur pause and reflect on the fact that their products are being well-received and gaining in popularity. It’s been a very gratifying and humbling experience thus far!
As I meet with friends, bloggers and customers, not a week goes by when I do not learn of some new and exciting opportunity for CrunchDaddy Popcorn. As I often tell people, “there is no shortage of ideas and opportunities right now, just a shortage of time and funding.” We are a “boot-strapped” startup, meaning that we created CrunchDaddy Popcorn with personal resources, very little funding and seek to grow the company slowly and gradually from the proceeds of sales rather than traditional funding sources like small businesses loans. To the best of our ability, each phase of our development will progress as we are able to handle the growth and remain self-financed.
If there is a downside to the entrepreneurial experience thus far, it comes from the uncertainty of what the future holds and the difficulty that is inherent in managing growth. Behind the buttery sweet surface there is a swirl of activity that challenges me to keep numerous plates spinning in the air at once without sacrificing the quality of the products. Whether it’s popping popcorn, packaging it, shipping it, delivering it, answering emails or managing social media, there’s ALWAYS something that needs to be done.
Rolling out new flavors and expanding our packaging options are never as easy as they seem. I had to cancel two photo shoots in April (for new products) thanks to the tremendous response that we received to the review of CrunchDaddy Popcorn in HowChow blog. I suppose that’s a good problem to have, being busy fulfilling orders… but I don’t like the feeling of falling behind and not being able to apply my time toward growing the company.
Lastly, I must share my undying gratitude for the incredibly humbling and inspirational comments that people have shared in regards to their experiences with CrunchDaddy Popcorn. I am rarely short on words, but the awesome kindness and words of encouragement that I have received for CrunchDaddy Popcorn have left me speechless. No matter how difficult the task, I’ve been blessed with more than enough well wishes and compliments to keep me going for quite a while!
Thanks for the support and interest in CrunchDaddy Popcorn!
All the Best,
Joy of joys!! Our official Twitter name is now @CrunchDaddy! The old name of @MrCrunchDaddy is history!
The name @CrunchDaddy was not available to us when we opened our Twitter account last summer, so we settled for @MrCrunchDaddy. Thanks go to a very kind gentleman from Tennessee who originally owned this Twitter handle but never used his account. He was generous to hand it over to us with his best wishes! For that we are eternally grateful and we are thanking him with a bodacious shipment of CrunchDaddy Popcorn! Thank you, sir!!