It's Crave's Sweet Sixteen!
This month marks 16 sweet years of bringing joy to our customers through baking, and we are BURSTING with gratitude. To celebrate the people and places that helped make us what we are today, co-founders Carolyne and Jodi are sharing 16 sweet gratitudes--including a few things you may not know about Crave.
Gratitude #1 - Family
Entrepreneurship is in Carolyne and Jodi’s DNA, they come from a long line of entrepreneurs Dad took over the McIntyre family farm, outside of High River, Alberta and Grandpa Starling owned a machinery shop in Stettler. And, today, Mom still teaches line-dancing classes in High River, she does a mean boot-scootin boogie!
Gratitude #2 - Friends
Custom cake designer Cynthia has been with Crave since the very beginning. In fact, Carolyne played match-maker setting Cynthia up with her - husband Quentin who was also the best man at her wedding! Who knew we would be adding match-making to the list of possible Crave endeavours - one cupcake and one significant other please!
Gratitude #3 - Weddings
Carolyne baked and decorated Jodi and Chris’s wedding cake in 2003. This gave her the inspiration to bake and decorate the first Crave wedding cake in the fall of 2004.
Gratitude #4 - Heritage
Carolyne and Jodi’s father passed away in March 1993. To honor his legacy, they opened the 7D Kitchen in 2015--the 7D quarter circle is the McIntyre livestock brand.
Gratitude #5 - Real Ingredients
Every egg is cracked by hand. Each pound of butter is unwrapped. Every cup of sugar and flour is weighed and lovingly handcrafted into the cupcakes, cakes and cookies made in our stores each day.
Gratitude #6 - Humble Beginnings
Carolyne and Jodi worked with a professional marketing firm when they first started Crave. After various iterations of a logo, “Sugar” was born and was the Crave logo for 11 years. Sugar officially retired in 2015. Sugar you will always have a place in our hearts.
Gratitude #7 - Supportive Husbands
Tony and Chris, the Crave husbands, have been instrumental in supporting Carolyne and Jodi on the Crave journey. They’ve baked cupcakes, been our accountants, handymen, taste testers and so much more. Both couples are working on 20 years of marriage!
Gratitude #8 - The Pursuit of Perfection
Providing the best home-baked goods to our customers takes hard work, perseverance and dedication. A little known fact – a recipe can be tested countless times before it makes it onto our shelves! In the famous words of an 80’s throwback by chumbuwamba, “we get knocked down but we get up again”. Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!
Gratitude #9 - History
Five fun facts from the first bakery:
- We started out using KitchenAids to mix the cake batter and buttercream.
- Five months later we purchased two 20 qt mixers.
- We bought a used pizza oven with a 12-pan capacity at auction for $2000
- 18 months later we purchased a new oven with double that capacity.
- Our dry ingredient supplier tried to convince us to buy cake mix instead of flour and sugar (no thanks!).
Gratitude #10 - Creativity
The original cupcake menu was developed through trial and error in Carolyne’s kitchen. Flavours included Just Chocolate, Crave-o-licious, Vava Vanilla, A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (Vanilla), Lemon-Lime Twist, Orange U Lucky, Princess (Chocolate), and Nutty over Chocolate. Today the menu includes many of the originals and a few new ones. From the beginning, a Craving of the Month was created as a way to encourage even more creativity in the bakeries.
Carolyne and Tony were riding their bikes through Kensington and saw a “For Lease” sign in the window at 1107 Kensington Road. They met with Sam, the owner of the building, who took a chance on Crave and leased us the space. 16 years later Kensington has been renovated from its original 1,300 square feet into the beautiful space you shop in today.
During the high-paced, early growth years of Crave, The co-founders became even busier: Jodi had two boys: McIntyre and Griffen and Carolyne had one boy, Oliver. If you see a handsome young gentleman working behind the counter at one of our stores, chances are it’s one of the Crave sons. Who ever said you can’t do it all? These two sure proved them wrong.
Gratitude #13 - Our Cravings!
Carolyne’s all-time favourite flavour: Just Chocolate
Jodi’s all-time favourite flavour: A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (Vanilla)
Classics but essentials.
Gratitude #14 - Team
There is power in surrounding yourself with uplifting and supportive women (and a few good men) we sure know this to be true! We have an amazing team of over 70 talented women who love to bake, spread kindness and inspire each other everyday! Go team!
Thanks to the incredible support of our customers, we now have six locations in three cities--they are all owned and operated by Carolyne and Jodi. We’re not stopping there though, we won't stop until we’ve hit world domination of Crave cupcakes.
We’re so lucky to be part of an incredible community of home-grown businesses. We love to shop local and support the other amazing entrepreneurs in our neighbourhoods.
None of these gratitudes could have been possible without the passion and loyalty of our amazing customers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making Crave what it is today. Bring on the next 16 years!