This was entered.  I am proud of it.  I like it and I would be honored if we place in one of the winners for the $1000 incentive!

Two words define our store “Cupcake Cache”.  They are oversized gourmet (60 varieties) of stuffed cupcakes which we vend in a 700 square foot cupcake bakery at 4202 East Busch Boulevard, Tampa, Florida.  There are some strong resolutions that may be the reason we are still in business which include growing to our funds, listening to our customer’s needs, and keeping our business’s mission in sight. The mission of Cupcake Cache is to serve the local community with home baked stuffed gourmet cupcakes that offer an alternative to the in-store bakeries. This business will include both walk-in as well as catering to small to medium size events.  The intent is to capitalize on the large student body population in the target area. Currently, the target area has a single bakery that specializes in cakes, and 2 coffee shops that currently do not offer baked goods in a quantity to be of competition.

When I returned from teaching overseas in Abu Dhabi with the Education Council, I remembered the cupcake cafes:  the charm of the stores and the uniqueness of the cupcakes. A nostalgic return to the past was the vision and then serendipitously, a storefront opened up near our home and across from Busch Gardens. We wanted to be our own bosses and this was our chance.   

     We began with a small budget of less than $7000 to furnish our kitchen, buy supplies, and pay bills. With our shoestring budget and books borrowed from the library on web mastery, Michael created the web site and I started a facebook page for Cupcake Cache. Sometimes our biggest competition is a tank of gas versus a dozen gourmet cupcakes for $30.  Competition is less plentiful in the Busch Gardens area for cupcakeries.  We shop locally for our supplies from our area grocery stores to more diverse avenues such as the Oriental Trading Company.  We buy our filling for the Dade City Wrangler (kumquats) from Kumquat Growers, Inc. in Dade City. Michael’s ideas come from the local Dairy Queen down the street:  mudslinger, chocolate rapture, chocolate volcano, etc.  My ideas come from perusing the grocery store, recipes (mom’s), cookbooks and remembering some of the unique places I have visited including France, and Korea.  Some of our best moments:  being filmed by Al Jeezera for a story about the economy and elections, being asked by Mel’s Hot Dogs to bake 600 plus cupcakes with a frankfurter etched on top for their 40th year anniversary.  New York Times Bestseller, Lisa Unger, my favorite author, visited us. We had a local book signing by father/son team Jeffery and Connor Wilson. We have been blogged about and even dedicated a short film to us celebrating us as the best cupcake place in Tampa!

  Our biggest challenge is reaching our customers because of the overwhelming cost of advertising and the customers we are trying to reach are in the lower socio-economic status.  Our biggest achievement to date was being recognized by local media as one of the best cupcake places in the Tampa Bay area.  Money and mentorship would help us target those areas which have been ignored by other cupcake businesses.