How important is Valentine's Day for your business?
It’s the single most important day.
How much does business spike on the 14th?
Well, it’s not just the 14th. Depending on what day the holiday is on, some people will celebrate it on a Saturday. But, I would say business jumps up around 200 percent. We are like a florist. It is our busiest day of the year. This and Mother’s Day.
How did you handle your first Valentine’s Day?
Our first Valentine’s Day was interesting. We recruited family members and friends. We only had one store open at the time and I think we had ten people working. When we opened our door at 10:30 AM, there were 100 people already lined up. They ran in and they were elbowing each other and arguing, trying to recreate the queue they had outside. It was amazing how much animosity there was among them trying to be the first to get to the counter. We probably had about a 100 pre-orders. Part of it was that we were the first cupcake store in town. Cupcakes were all the rage. So it was a pretty interesting day. We sold out at 3:30 PM. We hung out our sold-out sign and people still kept streaming in. We had to stay open because we still had pre-orders that had not picked up yet. We’ve started using Twitter and Facebook to encourage people to order in advance so they do not have to walk in and see the sold-out sign.
How many people do you normally hire to deal with the influx of customers?
We actually bring in only one additional person to each store. We are a well-oiled-machine now. Our first time we were sort of a deer in the headlights. Now we’re veterans of Valentine’s Day.
What are the most popular sellers?
On Valentine’s Day, Red Velvet. Everyone wants Red Velvet because red is the color of love. Our signature cake that we’ve won a couple of awards for is called a Better Than. It is a chocolate chip cake with a cream cheese and chocolate chip icing. That is always a big seller because our loyal customers know that is our signature cake. We have strawberry cake. We have one called The Cuppy. One called, Berry Squared. Some people go with color. At The Cupcake Spot, we are more married to flavor than specialty decorations, but we do do some little hearts, and little decorations.
On Valentine's Day, are most of your clients men or women? How many cupcakes does the average customer buy for the holiday?
On the holiday, it is probably 50/50 men and women. Most people probably buy a half dozen, to a dozen. Just like buying a box of chocolates, they get a variety.
What do you think it is about sweets that are so paired with the idea of romance?
Historically, I think there were the chocolate and vanilla treats. Now we are exploring all the different flavors. I think, for a cupcake, it is your very own cake that you do not have to share. Traditionally people would give a variety of chocolates. That is still the case, but I think it is just the popularity of the cupcake overall and the fact that you do not have to share it with anyone.
That is kind of ironic considering the holiday. What is the largest order you've received for the 14th?
This year we got an order for 200, four packs going to an office.
Do you get a lot of specialty requests?
Yeah, people come in and ask me to do designs. Some other operations may handle that. We are not into gimmicks. We are into flavor.
The Cupcake Spot is located at 3225 S MacDill Ave. #103 in Tampa and 405 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. TheCupCakeSpotInc.com