The moment you step into Kupcakes & Co., you feel as though you’ve entered paradise–a paradise of bouffant icing, chic pink and black decor, and smiles. The smell of fresh-baked cupcakes permeates the air and friendly staff rush to fulfill your needs.
This delightful ambiance is one that Michelle Kupiec ’89, independent studies, has poured her heart into creating, with the help of her family and friends. It all started in 2010, after an extended illness left Michelle’s daughter, Amanda, on bed rest. Amanda loved to watch the Food Network, and she fell in love with shows like Ace of Cakes (featuring yet another UMBC alumnus, Duff Goldman ’97) and, when she was feeling better, she tried her hand at making a fondant cake, which lead to cupcakes, which lead to Michelle and Amanda renting space in a commercial kitchen. And from there, the cupcakes took on a life of their own.
Business was booming, so Michelle and Amanda decided to open their retail space in Elkridge, MD, in 2011. The whole family got involved to make the business work.
“My husband, Bill, is my best friend, business partner, web designer, and number 1 taste-tester,” explains Kupiec. “And my daughter Allison helped develop the space and select packaging and decoration for the store.”
Now, Kupcakes & Co. has 16 full- and part-time staffers who bake and decorate more than 10,000 cupcakes each week for walk-in customers and local restaurants, and they’ve recently expanded into even more space to make room for cooking classes and parties. In addition to their core cupcake lines, they also offer custom wedding cakes and an array of tasty treats like biscotti, biscuits, scones, and coffee. The recipe for success? Committed bakers and the best ingredients.
“We’re so proud of our kitchen and what we do,” says Michelle. “We only use the best ingredients, and everything here is done by hand.” The hard work has paid off; in addition to the growing numbers of local customers, Kupcakes & Co. is also baking for celebrities like Gail King and Andrew Jenks.
But the success is just a sweet side effect, says Michelle. For her, this business is about her family and community. So it’s natural that she and everyone at Kupcakes & Co. are dedicated to giving back to the community, supporting projects and organizations like the Blossoms of Hope tree-planting program, the Ulman Cancer Fund’s Team Fight, and Howard County General Hospital’s Cupcakes with Santa.
“I put my whole heart into what I do,” she says, “And we [family and staff] work so hard at what we do.”