By David Wong, San Jose State University student
For Jeanette Fitzgearl and her family an average day revolves around one thing: getting their cupcake shop, Cutesy Cupcakes, up and running.
The shop, on Mount Hermon Road, is slated to open Dec. 17. In the mean time, the family is working hard to get things up and running.
“We go to Home Depot almost on a daily basis,” Fitzgearl stated in an email. “We run a lot of errands picking up supplies and meeting with vendors.”
The space they leased at Scotts Village Shopping Center was not set up for food service so they had to remodel much of it.
“My mom, [my daughter] Lacey and I designed the interior ourselves and painted it from top to bottom which has taken weeks,” Fitzgearl stated.
Dan Thompson, her mother’s husband, installed the floors, did all of the tiling, patched the walls, along with other tasks.
“It is taking a lot longer than we had hoped, but we are almost finished,” Fitzgearl stated.
According to Fitzgearl, the idea to open up Cutesy Cupcakes came to her when she saw Marie Callender’s close down in Capitola and thought it was disappointing to have one less dessert shop in the county.
“I asked Lacey if she wanted to go into business together to open a dessert shop.” Fitzgearl stated. “She was immediately on board, but it took a little more convincing to get my mom to join in, but eventually she came around.”
The process of getting the business to where it is today required hard work, while overcoming hardships and setbacks, according to Fitzgearl.
“I live in an apartment that does not even have an oven, so I started this business with a countertop toaster oven,” Fitzgearl stated. “I burned-out four of them in less than a year.”
The fledgling company was to Russo’s Commercial Kitchen in Santa Cruz and fulfilled all of their orders through their website as a cupcake delivery service.
“Our main goal was to get our own store, which we are very excited to have done,” Fitzgearl stated.
The trio chose to bake cupcakes because they are “very popular” and they “love to create cute things, so cupcakes seemed like a good fit.”
Supported by the family-oriented, “safe and friendly business environment” in Scotts Valley, they want to be a business that stresses customer satisfaction.
To that end, the family is planning on selling Red House Bakery gluten free cupcakes and gluten free cookies along with Pacific Cookie Company cookies and coffee produced by K&F Coffee Roasters, a Portland, Oregon-based company. According to Fitzgearl, in the long term, they aspire to open more Cutesy Cupcakes and turn it into a franchise, because they feel they have a unique product worth sharing.
“The three of us have spent a lot of time in trial and error perfecting our own recipes, so we are working on a plan to franchise without compromising the integrity of our cupcakes,” Fitzgearl stated.
To learn the different aspects of managing a restaurant, Fitzgearl and her daughter attended culinary school at Cabrillo College.
“Between our cooking and baking classes, we preferred the baking side of the culinary world,” Fitzgearl stated. “Lacey's favorite class was Baking and mine was Wedding Cakes.”
The bakers work hard to be a company that is mindful of animal welfare by using humane-certified eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos and cream cheese that is not made with rennet (an enzyme produced from a calf’s stomach) according to the company website.
“[It’s] because the three of us love animals, and since many of our ingredients come from animal products, (such as milk, eggs, butter and cream cheese) we try to use humane products when possible,” Fitzgearl stated.
Cutesy Cupcakes will be located at the Scotts Village Shopping Center on 245 Mount Hermon Rd. It will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday. Get updates on the shop's Facebook page.