Friday, February 1, 2013

Cake Devastation

I guess I've always used a "guilty until proven innocent" mentality for products, food, goods, etc. I'm not cheap by any stretch of the imagination or I'd have less goods, more money these days. It's more that everyone has their "things" they're willing to spend money on. Perfect example- it costs $3.58 for a Starbucks Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte. That's a "small" for those not in the Starbucks know. I wish I didn't know it because even typing that I feel like a dick. I'm not even a coffee drinker. So here illustrates my point. I don't know the difference between good coffee and bad coffee. I'd go next door to the deli or Dunkin Donuts but they don't have the Skinny Vanilla Latte and I like things with vanilla. So I'm willing to pay the $3.58. As are thousands of others. Daily. It's fanatical. Now- here's the "for instance": I'm on a message board. It costs $2.99 for the app. People balk at that $2.99. Yet, it makes it easier to use the board, which they're on daily, many times daily, and it doesn't go right through you. You buy the app once. You buy coffee daily which adds up to more than the app thousands of times over. But it's all in the perceived value.

I never bought salon hair products, designer make-up, or expensive baked goods. But there have been a few people who have been able to convert me with their magic goods that have really wowed me. Don from Salon Azano got me into Eufora for my hair and Pam from A la Cupcakes turned me into a specialty bake shop daily customer. I used to buy every birthday cake from Shop Rite. This year, I'm doing a Pam specialty because it's worth it. I'm like a cult follower of hers.

Pam is closing her retail store tomorrow. I'm devastated. Why? It's just cupcakes you say? NO. It's not. First- Pam IS her work. She doesn't just churn out cake. Sounds silly but she literally bakes with love. Every flavor is thought out extensively and worked till perfection. She uses high end ingredients. I've been to every well-known, respected cupcake place in northern Bergen County and other counties. Ever since falling in love with Pam's goods, I'm not even tempted to buy anywhere else. There are 3-4 other places within a few miles of me and I wouldn't go to any of them anymore. I don't know where I will get stuff to bring to people's parties, dinners, events, etc if she doesn't find another baking home. I'm just not bringing sub-par goodies. Knowing sweets is MY specialty and while others might not notice or care if they haven't already had hers, I care. If I'm not excited to eat what I bring, I'm not bringing it.

When she first brought her business to Glen Rock, there was no other cupcake place. No other real bakery place. That was my biggest complaint about the whole area. Yes, you could buy some baked goods at most of the deli places in town, but definitely not the kind of specialty cupcakes, pies, cookies & cakes for events that are all the rage now. Regretfully I didn't know about her for quite some time while she was here. She took a small space with little parking, that couldn't be seen by the main road. You really had to know where you were going. People didn't really know all her capabilities and it was difficult to really get the word out. Once people came, they loved her stuff, but it was getting them in the door daily to support the retail business was a struggle. She also couldn't do things like children's parties because she didn't have the bathroom requirement to be able to do that. It was just really hard to grow with the parameters she was working with.

Yes, there are more pressing matters in the world. But today is still a sad day for Glen Rock, for baked goods, and for me. Pam is still honoring her commitments and if she has a commitment for a certain day and you still need something, she isn't going to turn you away if she knows she'll be able to fill it. She isn't closing because her baked goods are anything less than spectacular. She's closing because doing the best work isn't always synonymous with monetary success. Don't I know how that goes! She doesn't gouge people with her prices- she's very competitively priced. She uses the finest ingredients where others definitely skimp, and she doesn't serve old, frozen goods- she bakes fresh daily. Doing the best is often cost-prohibitive.

Pam also went above and beyond for all her customers- whether someone new or a longtime devotee. She's still making E's awesome Green Lantern cake and I will always know how to get in touch with her. She is still working on getting a new space- so if anyone knows of a fully equipped baking kitchen available anywhere in the area, please contact her ASAP. What is next for her is unknown, but I'm hoping it's a new space, somewhere local, where she can do her thing. I'm always going to be a fan, I'm definitely going to do what I can to help & promote her, and I'm going to cross my fingers for some kind of cupcake miracle.

If you want any last minute things- I don't know what she has today or tomorrow but you can always just go in to say good-bye and good luck. In my opinion, we're losing the best store (besides mine) in downtown Glen Rock and one of the nicest people. I wish we could have a riot, a la (haha) Kidco, or at least have a going away party. I could definitely do with one more "Raspberry Paradise"- the one she made especially for me, if I do pat myself on the back for her letting me come up with my own concoction. I can't wait for E's cake- it'll be all that more bittersweet sweet for me.

You will still be able to reach her via the A la Cupcakes phone number indefinitely, the FB page, and by email.

(201) 444-2253

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