By Hannah Bleau | firstname.lastname@example.org
Small businesses have been struggling the past five years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 200,000 small businesses have gone under between 2008 and 2010. The same cannot be said for the cupcake industry. Market research center NPD found that approximately 669.4 million cupcakes were sold October 2010 to October 2011 — in the midst of the economic crisis.
Over the past few years, St. Augustine has developed its own local cupcake industry, with one particular shop in particular: Happy Cakes.
Happy Cakes cupcake shop is located on Anastasia Island, and owners Matt and Abbie Atkins opened it knowing a bakery was needed on St. Augustine Beach.
“We stared this business three years ago, and we moved here and just had a passion for baking and for sweets and all things delicious. We really wanted to open up our own shop, and we saw this location and we just loved it. Especially St. Augustine Beach needed a local bakery,” Abbie said.
Despite starting their business in the midst of the economic crisis, it has not been affected. She added, “I mean cupcakes are kind of an affordable item for everybody. It’s not out of anybody’s price range to come in and enjoy just a small treat. So, in the cupcake business it hasn’t really impacted it because everyone can afford like a small little luxury under $3.”
Because of the success of their business, Matt and Abbie decided to expand Happy Cakes into a full service bakery cafÃ©.
“You know, we know a lot more than just cupcakes and so we wanted to bring, you know all-natural breads, artisanal, small batched bakery to St. Augustine beach,” Atkins said.
Atkins said their expanded menu includes breads, wholesome sandwiches and fruit and yogurt with homemade granola.
“We have, you know, a bunch of different options everything from vegan to really gourmet like apple wood smoked bacon,” Atkins said.
But all food aside, Atkins said she loves the community atmosphere of owning a small business on the island.
“Our customers are generally very loyal to us. We get new customers all the time, but we definitely see a lot of repeat business, which is great,” she said. “It means we’re doing something right, and we’re doing a good job. We love getting to know people, and it’s nice seeing the same people and feeling like you’re part of a community instead of just a shop. It’s nice to feel like people care about your business.”