Thursday, June 27, 2013

Smallcakes Falls Flat in Buckhead

Smallcakes has closed its Buckhead location

Kansas City-based Smallcakes - A Cupcakery, which opened in Buckhead during the summer of 2011, quietly closed earlier this week.  Smallcakes Buckhead was located in the 2900 block of Peachtree Road in a shopping center it shared with Mattress Firm and Raja Indian Restautrant. 

The cupcake chain touted an appearance of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, as well as a appearance on The View, among other media coverage.  Additionally, the chain was recently named one of  USA Today's Top 10 Places to Bite into a Gourmet Cupcake. 

Smallcakes was started in 2008 in Kansas City by Augusta, Georgia native Jeff Martin.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Beautiful Brands International entered into a partnership with Martin in early 2011 to expand his brand via franchising and via co-branded locations with BBI's FreshBerry frozen yogurt.  This partnership was terminated this past fall by Martin after he was reportedly unhappy with the chain's growth. 

Today, Smallcakes website reflects there being 27 locations.  Of this list, five are labeled as "co-brand" and another five are "coming soon."  The Buckhead location is already gone from the website and its facebook page has been deleted. 

Since opening in Buckhead, Smallcakes added a number of other locations in Georgia making the Peach State their single largest market. Today their are seven locations open including Marietta, Valdosta, Smyrna, Woodstock, Albany, Augusta, Woodstock, Tifton and an 8th location coming soon to Villa Rica.  As you can see though from their locations, the suburbs is where they thrive, not in metro areas like Buckhead with far more competition.

In Buckhead alone there have been three cupcake shop closures in just the past two years.  Lenox Cupcakes closed its Phipps Plaza location in 2011, The Great Cupcake Company closed just south of Smallcakes on Peachtree late last year and Cloud 9 closed their location in Lenox Square earlier this year.

Buckhead, however, is still home to a number of other cupcake shops including Gigi's Cupcakes, CamiCakes, and Mae's Bakery, in addition to Sugar Shack, in nearby Brookhaven. 

Cupcakes don't seem to be totally dead, however, with plans for at least two well known chains to enter Atlanta in the coming months.  Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles and Washington D.C.-based Georgetown Cupcake both plan to open stores in Buckhead.  Sprinkles will open a rather large store on the front of Lenox Square.  Sources tell me this location will be the first of its kind to offer not only cupcakes and ice cream, but likely cookies and possibly even doughnuts as well!  A Sprinkles representave I spoke with recently in Chicago was hopeful the store would carry all the products and that it would be open in time for Thanksgiving, if not sooner.   

Georgetown Cupcake will open within the forthcoming Buckhead Atlanta project. It was originally stated that the store would open "Spring 2013" but that clearly did not happen and was likely just a mistake.  I'd wager the shop opens sometime in the late second or early third quarter of next year. 

New York-based Crumbs Bake Shop previously announced plans for eight locations in Atlanta but those plans have yet to materialize.

Where is your favorite cupcake shop in Atlanta?  Do you think Sprinkles is overrated or is it just as good as its promoted to be?  What should open in place of Smallcakes in Buckhead?  Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

I went there once because it was a pain in the ass to get in there and out, both trafficwise and just the lot being so small. The cupcake was good, but overpriced. It doesn't surprise me they're gone. I really prefer to make my own cake because it tastes better than all these places, but I tried Sprinkles in Chicago last time I was there and it was worth the hype for me.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear this, but that entire stretch of Peachtree Road in Buckhead is one big clusterf***.

People aren't looking to stop somewhere, they're looking to get the hell through there, to get from one place to another. Until the city improves traffic flow through there, which will never happen, these problems will continue to happen.

You also can't see half these business as you drive along, because you're doing 40mph on Peachtree Road, you're not looking from side to side at where you might stop, you're focused on driving through the traffic.

Perhaps if it was part of a walkable lifestyle center, like Buckhead Atlanta, it might have succeeded. But not as part of a strip mall where you have to make a difficult turn to and from Peachtree Road.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the fist commenter, I'd noticed this place, but it set far off of Peachtree, and you kind of had to know it was there. Traffic is so bad, it's almost too much of a pain to stop anywhere off of Peachtree...

Anonymous said...

The Villa Rica Small cakes has came and went since this article came out. They did terrible always out of stock and I ordered a very sloppy decorated cake from them. So they don't do well in suburbia either, apparently.