Customers are gobbling up the cupcakes
BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech senior marketing and finance major Mandy Moore happily finished nibbling the crumbs from a cupcake wrapper about 1:15 this past Saturday morning.
Moore had chosen a strawberry-lemonade cupcake from new-bakery Gobble Cakes.
“It was so moist,” she said. “I love the fresh strawberries. I would definitely tell my friends to come here.”
Gobble Cakes, Blacksburg’s first gourmet-style cupcake bakery, opened Friday afternoon, Aug. 31.
The College Avenue business serves up nine different flavors of cupcakes at $3 each. The treats have whimsical names such as Huckleberry Blueberry, ACC “All Crazy Chocolate,” Shake Your Tail Feathers (vanilla) and Hokie Love (red velvet-cream cheese).
About two hours after the shop opened, business assistant Holly Burns said peanut butter-chocolate and strawberry lemonade had been the two most popular flavors.
“We were supposed to open at 4:30 [p.m.], but there were people lined up outside at 3 [p.m.], so I just let them in,” Burns said.
The shop’s normal hours will be noon to 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and noon to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The shop will be closed Sunday and Monday.
Owner Jill Justice and Burns, her best friend of 12 years who is helping to run the business, transformed 145 College Ave., previously the home of different bicycle shops, into a bright, cheery storefront with two small seating areas. The walls are covered in pastel pink.
Visitors can choose their cupcake from a large display at the register or watch pastry chefs Jean-Francois Susteau, Justylyn Alair and Sarah Helzer hard at work in the kitchen.
Susteau, Alair and Helzer all hail from The Greenbrier hotel and resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., as does Burns.
Burns and Justice attended Marshall University together, Burns said. Then, Justice came to Blacksburg to attend the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Tech, where she’s now a resident. Burns said Justice’s brother also attended Tech.
“This is a hobby for her [Justice],” Burns said.
Burns is a sales manager at The Greenbrier. Susteau, executive pastry chef at The Greenbrier, was working frantically with Alair and Helzer a couple of hours after the shop’s opening. He said the trio was capable of making about 200 cupcakes in two hours. They had been at work since 8 a.m. as of about 5 p.m. Aug. 31.
“I think people will love it,” Susteau said. “It is all my recipes.”
Gobble Cakes also delivers larger orders in its pink Mini Cooper. Burns said the minimum order for delivery is a baker’s dozen.
Although many of last Friday’s customers were Tech students, Burns said the shop hopes to entice both students and local residents inside for a cupcake.
Many area residents discovered Gobble Cakes during Steppin’ Out, Blacksburg’s annual crafts and street fair.
Allison Greenstein of Radford, who tasted an orange-pomegranate cupcake during the bakery’s grand opening, said she thinks the shop will do well in Blacksburg.
“If I were a college student, I know I’d be in here every day,” she said.
Students such as Blair Priest, a senior business major, and her friend Lisa Mokszanowski, a senior industrial design major, had also been planning on coming to the bakery’s opening day, though they waited to drop by until about 1:20 a.m.
Priest ordered the Huckleberry Blueberry, while Mokszanowski went for the strawberry-lemonade. Priest said she had seen the business advertised on Facebook and was excited to try it out.
“We don’t have anything like this here,” she said.
“It’s very upscale for Blacksburg,” Mokszanowski said. “I told her [Priest], ‘I’ll only go downtown with you tonight if we can get cupcakes!’ ”
No matter the time of day, “we want to provide the students a fun, open atmosphere,” Burns said.
“And we want the local community to come in, too.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-1662
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