The little bakery that could

Pete Mihalek

Year-old Hudson cupcake shop is just getting started in redefining a classic for Northeast Ohio

A customer tries to decide on a flavor as co-owner Kimberly Martin rearranges cupcakes in the display case. There are 12 to 20 flavors available each day.

Caitlin Prarat | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Cupcakes sound simple enough — bite-sized cakes topped with a dollop of frosting, maybe some sprinkles. And with one bite, they conjure up memories of elementary school bake sales and childhood birthday parties.

So why would anyone want to fuss with this classic sweet?

“Why not?” said Kimberly Martin, co-owner of Main Street Cupcakes.

In historic downtown Hudson, 20 minutes northwest of Kent, Main Street Cupcakes celebrated a “wildly successful” first year of business in February and has also turned the cupcake world on its frosting, offering much more than Funfetti to its customers.

This husband and wife team of Sean Nock and Kimberly Martin quickly learned that Northeast Ohio had more than a few cupcake fans.

“We started out with three professional mixers,” Martin said, “and within one week after doors opened, we were overnighting an industrial-sized mixer.”

Even after a year, sellouts are still a common occurrence. Customers routinely drop by on a whim to see what the inside of the colonial blue storefront has to offer.

“I heard about the Red Velvets and wanted to try one,” Liz Schreiber said. The number of flavors she was able to pick from overwhelmed this Shaker Heights resident, like many of the shop’s first-timers. “You can’t just get one,” Schreiber admitted.

One step inside Main Street Cupcakes, customers are greeted with a neatly, yet tightly packed cupcake case. Old hardwood floors and bare walls dressed with a few press clippings and picture frames do little to distract from the rich smells of buttercream frosting and gourmet coffees. Of course, the classics are there — chocolate and vanilla. But so are Sugar Cookie and Vanilla Chai or even Mojito and “You had me at Nutella.” The menu is deep, ensuring a second and third visit.

“We thought we’d stick with about 10 to 15 indulging flavors,” Martin said, “but before we knew it, our menu grew to over 80.”

Main Street Cupcakes gained national attention in USA Today for its flavor fervor. Consistent best sellers are Half Baked, Wedding Day White and Red Velvet. The daily menu of standards and specialties consists of 12 to 20 flavors at about $2 each, with the majority of the flavor choices made by 5:30 the evening before.

On the corner of Main and Owen Brown streets, this specialty bakery also sits on the northern edge of Hudson’s shopping district. Macedonia natives Nock and Martin admit that Hudson is the perfect location.

Michael Clark agrees that foot traffic is a big part of Main Street Cupcakes’ success but not all of it. Clark is the purchasing and marketing director of Euro USA, a gourmet food distributor in Cleveland. He adds that cupcakes are “trendy right now” thanks to a number of popular cupcake boutiques in some of the country’s biggest and hippest cities like San Francisco, Chicago and New York. More importantly, they offer an appealing “portion-controlled dessert” to what’s slowly becoming a more health conscience America.

Now with year one in the books, this small, in-house operation is focused on the season at hand. As the chickadees chirp and tulips get ready to bloom, Main Street Cupcakes will begin to use “some of the freshest fruits” this spring for new flavors and fillings, giving passersby a few more reasons to give their feet a break.

Contact features correspondent Pete Mihalek at [email protected].