BLOOMINGTON —There’s a sweet business expanding in the Twin Cities.
After less than a year in downtown Bloomington, Sugar Mama Bakery will open its second shop in uptown Normal.
The bakery, which specializes in cupcakes, mini-cupcakes, custom order cakes and “sugar babies” or cake pops will open at 116 W. North St. on Jan. 14.
“We thought this was a no-brainer,” said bakery co-owner Krista Gaff. “We knew if we wanted to expand the business we needed more space.”
The business started more than three years ago out of Gaff’s home. After about a year, the former teacher moved into rented kitchen space at Crosswinds Community Church in Bloomington.
Sugar Mama Bakery opened its first storefront Jan. 24, 2013, at 405 N. Main St. in downtown. It wasn’t long until Gaff and co-owner Susie Tod realized they needed more space. The goal with the Normal store is to allow for room to expand the custom cake orders and grow the menu.
“We really started small and grew through word of mouth and social media. Creating a community through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has helped us grow,” Gaff said. The company’s Facebook page has more than 6,500 fans.
The bakery gets orders for events, weddings, birthdays, graduations and other holidays.
“There’s something about food that draws people together and we get to be a part of those celebrations and mile-stones,” Gaff said.
Gaff and Tod took over the space in uptown Normal last week and have been working since then to get it ready for the Jan. 14 opening. The space was previously occupied by Chill Out, a self-serve frozen yogurt business that closed in November.
They have minimal work to complete on the inside of the store; there is painting, installation of equipment and other odd jobs to get the store ready, Gaff said. With the help of family, friends and employees, Gaff and Tod will be able to update the space and open in a short two weeks.
The Normal store will look similar to the Bloomington location, with seating, free Wi-Fi and a display of baked goods. It will have a full kitchen.
The space will offer the bakery more room to bake and hold custom orders. With one store, they often had to turn away last-minute orders, Tod said.
At the new uptown location, near Illinois State University, Tod said they also hope to reach the student population.
The Normal store will hold the same hours as the Bloomington location: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The downtown bakery currently has 21 employees; when the new location opens that total will grow to 30.
Mini cupcakes are $1.75 each and regular cupcakes are $3.50. Cupcakes and cake pops by the dozen and mini-cupcakes by the two dozen range in price from $30 to $42.
There are no plans for additional locations after the uptown bakery opens, Gaff said.
“Right now, we’re taking it one day at a time in the mess of prepping and cleaning the new space,” she said.