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Flush from his win of Cupcake Wars' "Cupcake Champion" series, Cupcake owner Kevin VanDeraa was looking into opening a second location on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. However, as it turned out, opening a shop on Grand had more than its share of complications--at least, for the time being. Instead, VanDeraa explored opportunities with the Mall of America, and he quickly found it to be a perfect match.
"After winning the national competition, we have people coming here from all over the country, and we thought that the mall would be a good fit," VanDeraa begins. "There's not a lot of bakeries there--it's kind of surprising."
Doing business at the Mall of America had other advantages for Cupcake: Basically, once everyone agrees to open a store, the entire Mall of America team goes to work at making it happen efficiently, even supplying store designers so Cupcake to whip up something whimsical yet elegant in a hurry. Time is especially important for the Cupcake staff, as light rail construction around their existing location is scheduled to begin in just a few weeks, probably resulting in a dreaded but temporary dip in business. The Mall of America store is due to open just in time, in the beginning of August.
All the cupcakes will still be baked at the original location. The Mall of America store, however, will be focused on customer favorites and the flavors featured on Cupcake Wars. The new store will also include a "living menu," so no more waiting in line and getting your heart set on a flavor only to get to the counter and find that it's sold out. Also, along with stores like Best Buy, Cupcake will be opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving to give weary shoppers a handy pick-me-up.
All in all, it seems like a match made in Cupcake heaven. In fact, after haunting the mall for a solid week and scoping out his potential customers, VanDeraa envisions only one small drawback: "I'll be there, and I'll be spending my whole paycheck at Nordstrom ... and gelato and ice cream."