When you walk into Simply Sweet Cupcakes in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, you’re immediately taken by the sweet smell of cupcakes. With friendly faces behind the counter, your experience in the bakery begins happily. The owners of the shop, Jacquelin Ciaburri and Gina Ciaburri, are likely to be laughing in the kitchen, which further proves the existence of the easygoing, friendly atmosphere.
The cupcake case is filled with a variety of flavors from Tiramisu to Strawberry and they all look magnificent and as the owners said themselves, “pretty.” The shop workers were busy decorating cakes and talking to customers, while Gina and Jacquelin were individually wrapping their popular High Heel cupcakes for a party.
As I walked around the shop, I saw two little signs hanging on the walls. Both boasting cupcake-related sayings like “Life is short…eat more cupcakes.” At Simply Sweet, I’m almost positive it is easy to eat more cupcakes. After taking a break from wrapping their cupcakes, Gina and Jacquelin came over to talk to me, coffee in hand, trying to maintain their level of energy to continue with the rest of their day.
As they sat down, I took another quick glance around their shop and was intrigued to know why they decided to open a cupcake bakery. Often, small-business owners are “inspired” to open their business so I asked them what their inspiration was. “Nothing,” Jacquelin said with a laugh. “We were looking to just rent a kitchen, and then one of our customers recommended for us to come down here and take a look and we saw the place and I said no, and she said ‘yeah’ and that was that.”
Located in Egg Harbor City’s downtown section, the shop is surrounded by a plethora of little stores, giving the area a very cutesy, Main Street vibe. “The town needs help, businesses are closing because of the economy. It adds another business to the road so that’s what we decided to do instead of just renting a kitchen,” said Gina.
After only being open for about a year, their business, like many other cupcake businesses, has seen large success. They attribute this success to a few things like their creative style of baking, “We never write down our recipes,” said Jacquelin, their dynamic, “People come in here because we fight and they think it’s entertaining,” Gina explained, and the popularity of cupcakes in general “They’re cute and you can do so much with them. They’re individual. Instead of sitting down for an entire cake you can sit down and just have one,” said Jacquelin.
Gina and Jacquelin are sister-in-laws and they make quite the duo. They each agreed that if it were not for the other, they would not want to work in the shop. “I wouldn’t like working here, I’m going to regret saying this, I wouldn’t work here if she didn’t work here,” Jacquelin said with a laugh. “I think the main focus of what we do is we have a lot of fun and we laugh a lot, people think we’re nuts.” Their have-fun attitude gives their bakery life and when you bite into one of their delicious cupcakes, you can tell they are made with love.
Their advice for anyone thinking about opening their first cupcake bakery is, “Have fun, and you should probably know what you’re doing,” said Gina. As Gina said this, Jacquelin looked at her quizzically and said, “We didn’t know what we were doing. We still don’t know what we’re doing!” They both laughed. As an outsider, I think their success proves they’re doing something right.
Visit Simply Sweet Cupcakes online at their Facebook page or take a drive down to Egg Harbor City. They’re located at 132 Philadelphia Avenue, Egg Harbor City, New Jersey.