Crumbs Cupcake Bakeries Shutting Down Could Be a Sign of Much, Much Worse

crumbs cupcakesWelp, that's the way the cupcake crumbles. Giant cupcake chain Crumbs is closing all its stores, the company announced Monday. As of last night, all 51 locations across 12 states have been shuttered. It's the cupcakepalypse! Abandon all hope, cupcake lovers, for this is the beginning of the end of the cupcake trend as we know it. Or is it?

At a time like this, we all have to ask ourselves this important question: What does this mean for the future of cupcakes?

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I'm a believer. I think good cupcakes are here to say. And so does Allison Robicelli, co-owner of my favorite bakery, Robicelli's, and co-author of the cookbook Robicelli's: A Love Story With Cupcakes. She was not surprised by the news -- apparently the big company had been struggling for months. But then she also doesn't see cupcakes as just a trend. As she once wrote in The Medium, "Know why cupcakes aren't going anywhere? Because you need something to be 'the next cupcake' just like you need something to be 'the new black.' It's not a bubble; it's a genre." 

That was over a year ago. I asked Robicelli what she thinks of Crumbs closing now, and she said we shouldn't let one company define the world of little cakes. "There are literally tens of thousands of bakeries across the world making cupcakes that are amazing," she told me. She's sad about so many people losing their jobs -- until yesterday Crumbs had 165 full-time employees and about 655 part-time hourly employees. But cupcakes are not going anywhere.

I was explaining my love of cupcakes to my boyfriend just the other day. It's cake, but it's portable and hand-held. It's a single serving. You can buy just one and walk out with it. Otherwise, you'd have to bake or buy a whole cake, or order a slice at a restaurant. The proportion of cake to frosting is (usually) ideal. There are infinite flavor possibilities. And how many of us have wonderful memories of eating cupcakes at birthday parties as kids? Here's Robicelli again, explaining why Crumbs is gone but cupcakes are here to stay.

Cupcakes are one of life's greatest joys when they're made well, and with love. When they begin to taste like a commodity, like fast food burgers, you strip it of everything that was wonderful. It no longer seems like a celebration.

So there you have it. Maybe Crumbs lost sight of its mission, creating magic through cake. But like Robicelli says, there are tens of thousands of people who are still working that magic. You know the saying -- when 51 Crumbs store doors close, many little mom 'n' pop bakery windows open. So just look out for those bakeries -- or make your own cupcakes!

Are you so over cupcakes, or do you think they're much more than a trend?

 

Image via m01229/Flickr

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