The taste of victory can be sweet.
And for the Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe in Chester, winning is a flavor now on display.
The Chester store achieved newfound fame after winning “Cupcake Wars” in an episode aired Sunday night, and felt the effects of success immediately.
Just a few hours after the show aired, owner and Long Valley resident Cheryl Burger and store manager Stacie Filipow were hard at work at the Main Street store, along with half a dozen employees, offering up flavors created for the competition.
By noon, two of the creations had already sold out. The store opened just an hour earlier.
And it was closed at 2 p.m. after selling out of its day's products.
“The customers’ loyalty has been overwhelming,” Burger said. “They’ve given us their love and support from day one. I know they’ve got our back no matter what. They’re always happy to help us in any way–writing reviews, telling friends–it’s amazing.”
If one didn’t know better, it would be easy to think the store was giving food away for free Monday.
Parents and children flocked to the shoppe by the carful on the summer day, and had no problems trading in their favorites to try the new creations seen on the show.
“My favorite is usually the S’more,” said Angela Larangeira of Flanders, who came in with her son and daughter. “When we got the email about the flavors being available today, we knew we’d come in. I thought we’d give them some time and wait until around noon, but (two of the flavors were) sold out!”
Larangeira said her family visits the bakery “quite frequently,” and picks up cupcakes and cakes for any occasion.
The store was full from the moment it opened, not a normal occurrence for a weekday afternoon, Burger said. Usually that kind of frequency is only seen before major holidays, she said.
For one family, a summer vacation was topped off perfectly with a trip to the Sweet Spot.
Tracy Formisano of Succasunna brought her teenage daughter and friends to grab some sweets, despite just getting off a plane the night before.
“We didn’t get to see the show last night because we were still on the plane back from vacation,” Formisano said. “But we saw that they won on Facebook and knew we had to get here today. We’re really excited for them–we’ve been coming since the store opened (in 2010).”
‘We Knew They’d Win’
Burger said she’s watched the show religiously, but aside from a viewing party Sunday night, hasn’t been able to sit and digest the episode she and Filipow won.
The entire production of the show was “very cool” Burger said, and every bit as real as it looks on television.
“I always thought the clock wasn’t real,” she said. “I thought with it being on TV and being dramatic that it wasn’t the real time, but it definitely was. The clock started with two hours and the next thing I knew there were only 60 minutes left. Once it starts, you have to move.”
Now that the cupcake is finally out of the wrapper–Burger and Filipow were contractually obligated to not tell anyone about the outcome of the show–a weight has been lifted from the owner's shoulders.
“It’s a huge sigh of relief,” she said. “It was really exciting, but I’m glad we can be open about it now. Even during (the viewing party) our friends were asking us during commercials what was going to happen!”
For the Smith family of Whitehouse, it was a no-brainer they’re favorite bake shop was going to win.
“After the first round, we knew they’d win,” said Joe Smith, who was with his younger brother, Chris, and mother Donna. “They looked more organized, more professional. We could just tell.”
The win validated Donna Smith’s thoughts on the business, and will likely be the reason she makes the trip more often with her sons, she said.
Team Effort Pays Off
Aside from the national recognition, Burger and Filipow received $10,000 for winning.
“Only Stacie and I could go to the show,” Burger said, “But all the girls here have been such a big part of this. We’re planning a trip for everyone together as a thank-you for all their work.”
The majority of the winnings will be put right back into the business, however, to make sure the shop continues its great success.
“We’re going to invest in some equipment,” Burger said. “Depending on our volume, there are some things we definitely will need.”
If Monday is any indication, the Sweet Spot will be putting that equipment to good use immediately.