The Hershey’s chocolate painted walls and white filigree tablecloths and chairs are almost as tempting as the 40-plus flavors of cupcakes shop owner Megan Knatz sells in her newly opened Marion storefront, Take the Cake Gourmet Cupcakes Shop.
Knatz admits she had a busy summer.
She officially resigned her job at Novak Elementary as an assistant administrator and signed the lease on her new storefront in June, watched as a six-week construction phase shaped the store by mid-July, located and hired two full-time bakers and opened the doors to customers on July 31.
They quickly sold out of the nearly 49 dozen cupcakes they baked every day.
And then a new customer contacted the Food Network, which in turn brought a production crew into her store in early September to tape an audition video of Knatz and her staff in action for consideration as contestants on the network’s series “The Cupcake Wars.”
Knatz had been developing and baking her cupcakes out of her home for about a year and a half, taking them into school to share and sell to the teaching staff. Word got out, and she began getting calls for orders from people she didn’t know.
“It really just took off on its own, and I started to get the first little taste of this being something I could do on a bigger scale,” she recalled.
She was selling her cupcakes through another bakery in Marion with success but discovered she could hardly match the demand.
“I’d get up at 4 a.m. to bake them before heading into school,” she said, “and then I’d come home at night and frost and decorate them.
“It was just me and my oven. I would only bake on one rack because my oven didn’t bake well on the bottom rack, so I did one rack at a time.
“I just didn’t have the capacity to keep up.”
The mother of two does the baking along with two full-time bakers, another part-time baker and an additional part-time employee who runs the front of the store.
“My dad helps us out by doing deliveries and running errands,” she added.
“We offer 12 different flavors every day,” she explained, “and five of those will be the same every day — our top sellers. We will change our flavor offerings every three months to go with the change of seasons,” she said.
The autumn season cupcake offerings include three kinds of pumpkin, cinnamon toast, English toffee and salted nut roll, among others — even French toast, “with or without crumbled bacon on top and a drizzle of maple syrup.”
“My biggest concern right now is when customers come in and we’ve sold out,” she explained,“but we have redesigned our process and that will help us keep up with the volume of demand.”
Owner: Megan Knatz
Company: Take the Cake Gourmet Cupcakes
Address: 5475 Dyer Ave. Ste.121, Marion
Phone: (319) 892-0174
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
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