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Smallcakes hoping to savor the sweet life

Store to open Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The staff at Smallcakes refines their technique of applying frosting to a fresh batch of cupcakes Tuesday. The store opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 12.

The staff at Smallcakes refines their technique of applying frosting to a fresh batch of cupcakes Tuesday. The store opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 12.

ALBANY — Less than 24 hours before its Albany debut, the staff and owners of Smallcakes: A Cupcakery were busy learning the delicate techniques of cupcake perfection.

“It’s definitely a learned skill,” franchise owner Lindsay Bridges said, as an employee refines their technique of applying frosting to the top of a lemon cupcake.

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Inside the shop on Old Dawson Road, the scene was one of quiet frenzy as employees worked to get their assignments right and as Bridges focused on making sure the store would be ready for its 10 a.m. opening.

To help out, Smallcakes co-founder Jeff Martin was onsite sharing his knowledge of the business with the employees and Bridges.

photo

J.D. Sumner

Jeff Martin, founder of Smallcakes, shows staff at SmallCakes’s Albany store on Old Dawson Road how to properly apply sprinkles to a “birthday cake” cupcake. The store will open today at 10 a.m.

Martin started the chain of cupcakeries as a single store five years ago, baking and creating cupcakes in a cramped, 150-square-foot space in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

“I had people saying that we were never going to make it,” Martin said. “They’d tell me how bad the economy was, the recession and how people just didn’t have money to spend on $3-a-cupcake treats. But it worked, and now we find ourselves opening stores across the country.”

The key to the business’ success, Martin said, is Smallcakes’ guarantee of cupcakes baked fresh daily, the size and moistness of the cake itself, and the broad array of styles and toppings, which is now close to reaching 100.

“It’s not just a swirl of frosting,” Martin said. “When you get a Smallcakes ... if you get our peanut butter cup, it’s peanut butter crumbles on top; a key lime has an actual slice of lime on top; so you’re actually getting this really cool creation that’s a cupcake, you know?”

For Bridges, who by profession is a nurse in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the leap into the cupcake business is truly a leap of faith.

“I love my job. In fact, I miss not being there right now, but with three kids the nurse hours are not the best in the world so the plan is to work really hard getting this up and running and then eventually maybe we’ll be able to spend a little more quality time with the family,” Bridges said.

Bridges and her husband have invested much of their savings into the store, hoping to provide something unique to Albany consumers.

To some extent, Bridges and Martin are both hoping that the Albany store continues the success the company has seen in Georgia.

The Valdosta Smallcakes store has continually beat stores in California and Texas as the company’s biggest producer. With new stores opening across the state, including one in Tifton, the pair hope the magic will continue with Albany.

“Georgia’s been good for the company, and we think it’ll continue with this store,” Martin said.