The shop brought specialty cupcakes to Jacksonville as a national cupcake craze was growing, but the store couldn’t thrive in the local economy. Facing mounting bills and dwindling revenue on the heels of the slow summer season, owner Jill Waters said closing was her only option.
“Last year I never recovered from the summer because of increased competition in August,” Waters said. “Coming out of my second summer, I can’t recover.”
A rival Jacksonville bakery, Mad Hatter Cakes and Cupcakes, went from crafting creative cakes to specialty cupcakes several months after Waters opened. An attempt to reach the owner of that bakery Friday was not successful, but a recording on the business’ phone said the bakery no longer takes orders for cakes.
Waters said she had believed sales would pick up enough to remain competitive after Jacksonville State University students returned for class two weeks ago. But sales have remained flat since then and have not risen to a level that will sustain the business, she said.
“I feel like it’s just impossible to have two businesses carrying the same product within a block of each other,” Waters said.
Waters announced the store’s closing Friday on Facebook, where the store had regularly listed its daily offerings. The store’s Facebook followers expressed shock and support in comments beneath the stores closing announcement.
“So proud of the chance you took and the dream you followed in opening! And what a great ride you had!” wrote one commenter.
The cupcake shop was named runner-up in a state cupcake competition sponsored by The Birmingham News last fall.
Waters said she is particularly proud of the store’s high health rating, noting that it recently received a 100.
She worked to develop flavors from her Jacksonville home for several months before opening the store, using her family as taste testers. Later the family worked together to renovate the shop, installing new flooring, painting the walls in sherbet hues and placing chalkboard and weathered frames on the walls.
“I just wanted to bring something to Jacksonville that I thought it needed, and it just isn’t working out for me anymore,” Waters said.
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.