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How profitable are 'cupcake only' shops?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've been watching shows such as Cupcake Wars and Cupcake Girls, and wondering how profitable a cupcake only storefront really is. Anybody with one of these shops care to share? I know it depends on rent, cost of supplies in the area, etc. Just thought a ball park figure would be nice to appease my curiosity. Thanks in advance! icon_smile.gif
Debbie
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My children go as far as the umbilical cord allows them!
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Debbie
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My children go as far as the umbilical cord allows them!
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post #2 of 31
Well, I know Georgetown Cupcakes has a line a block or two long every day, so they must be profitable. They opened a second store in Bethesda, and I hear that has a lot of business too.
post #3 of 31
I would think it would depend on the people and the size of your city. In my city I couldn't keep the doors open for a month. There just wouldn't be enough people wanting to have a cupcake( I live in kind of a country townicon_smile.gif) But there are places all over that do really well. I would say location and marketing would be imperative to doing well.
post #4 of 31
You have to know your market's sustainability over the long term. I have a friend that wants to open a cuppie shop in our area due to the "glory" of it all proclaimed on the cupcake shows on TV. Our nearest town has a population of about 3000 - it balloons during the short tourist season. We also have a high rate of unemployment. I have researched a cake shop in our area and do not believe it would last long term after the novelty wore off so I just do cakes for friends and family. What I'd have to charge for a cupcake or a cake to cover all my bases would not fly around here. My friend's husband can finance her so she will give it a go and then sadly, probably close her doors in less than a year. She has no clue what it takes to do this 24/7 in order to be successful but she has her rose colored glasses on and I cannot persuade her to think rationally. She wants to be the next cupcake queen so I will watch and see what happens. Like most real estate moguls declare:
LOCATION< LOCATION< LOCATION! Good luck with what ever you decide! I do not mean to be so negative but these cake shows annoy me as they do not show the whole picture of having your own biz.
post #5 of 31
Tv is tv. Can't take it as gospel on ANY topic.

That said, it depends on the location and demand. In my state, I can name at least three "big" cupcake places that have multiple locations now - despite our awful economy. They're located in the more affluent cities, and the demand must be pretty good because there are always people visiting and buying.
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post #6 of 31
I'd make a business plan with "real" expenses - i.e. rent/utilities/overhead/labor/product, PROFIT etc. And then figure out how much I could charge per cupcake and determine how many cupcakes I'd have to sell to get that amount. In the end, around here, it wouldn't be sustainable.
post #7 of 31
Do you have some type of small non-profit in your area that helps with business plans? I would get with one and see how they can help. We have one in our area and they are a tremendous help with stuff like that. As far as the cupcake shops around here, one shop is always sold out before they close and they are an okay location. Not too noticable, but word of mouth has really got them going. There is another cupcake shop that is in a great location, but they have tons of poduct left over at the end of the day. Not only is location key, but you have to have a GREAT product. The odd location one has the best fricken cupcakes where the place with the great location, well I can get the same product from Wal-Mart for a lot less.
post #8 of 31
There is a cupcake shoppe by me that is very successful. The store recently expanded by opening 2 more stores in the surrounding area. But they are not just a cupcake shoppe, they are a well branded company. A large money maker for them is the icing jars (mason jars filled with their icing) and tiny boxes of cake mix they sell. People from all over the U.S. order from them because they have heard that the "brand" is what you most have to make cupcakes.

Someone I know told me (and this person has an intimate knowledge of the cupcake shoppe $ situation) that they sell an average of 300 cases of icing every month. Not to mention the cake mix and cupcakes they sell. They also host cupcake decorating parties for kids that are a hefty price for parents to pay.

They sell out by 1:00 pm everyday - which is part of their plan. It keeps the appearance of a high demand product and people are willing to pay to get the product.
"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #9 of 31
I live in (actually about 15 minutes outside) the 3rd largest city in my state and we have two little cupcake places around here. I know a gal opened a shop downtown but its more of a coffee shop/ cupcake place and her cinnamon rolls are the big sellers, not her cupcakes. The other place Ive never even heard of before. I just googled for cupcake places in my city to get the name of the other place I do know of. Its even on the road I drive to get into the city every week and Ive never seen it. Im kind of surprised nobody has opened a really big cupcakes only place around here. But Im also surprised we dont have a Trader Joes or any of those other cool stores the other big cities have. We certainly have the need and the want. The $4.00 vegan cupcakes at Mama Jeans sell out all the time. So we have people here who will pay for them. You should come to Springfield, Mo and open a shop icon_smile.gif
post #10 of 31
I strongly recommend doing a business plan. That's the best way to determine how successful you would be, and how much you would have to sell to stay in business.
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Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
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post #11 of 31
Agree with CakeMaster2009. Also, it all depends on location. I'm not sure because this was a long time ago, but I thought this girl was near an university. Of course if that's true, she's going to sell a lot.

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post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311

Someone I know told me (and this person has an intimate knowledge of the cupcake shoppe $ situation) that they sell an average of 300 cases of icing every month. Not to mention the cake mix and cupcakes they sell. They also host cupcake decorating parties for kids that are a hefty price for parents to pay.


This is probably the key to long-term success for a retail shop -- diversifying beyond a single type of product, especially if that product can be shipped nationally.

There are several cupcake shops around here (Silicon Valley), and based on the rent here for commercial property it's difficult to believe they are making much in the way of profit -- if any -- unless they get a great deal on rent. Many specialty retail shops only survive because they are subsidized by wholesale or custom orders, which begs the question of why you need the retail shop in the first place.
post #13 of 31
I don't think my area could support cupcakes only. There are stores in downtown Annaplois, but that is Naval Academy and tourist-driven. Their cupcakes are just ok, but repeat customers is not an issue.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've lived in an area where there were two cupcake shops. One sold jumbo cupcakes for $3.75 a piece. One sold regular sized cupcakes for $1.50 each. There were times when I would drive by the $1.50 shop and they were closed due to selling out. I'm not sure how many cuppies they made per day, though. I think the $3.75 shop made around 1000 a day. Neither one sold any other baked goods such as decorated cakes. I guess that's why I was curious how profitable cupcake only shops were. If the $3.75 shop sold out everyday, I'm sure that would be a great profit, but I'm not so sure that selling out everyday was happening for them. I went in one day and had seen a flavor from the day before at a discounted price.
Debbie
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My children go as far as the umbilical cord allows them!
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Debbie
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My children go as far as the umbilical cord allows them!
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post #15 of 31
In any business, it still depends on how the expenses are managed.
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