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Magnolia Bakery Set on Expansion

By Taylor Smith

Nearly two decades after Magnolia Bakery became a New York sensation, the company recently announced that it has plans to open 200 additional franchises across the United States over the next five years. The bakery, which opened its doors in Greenwich Village in 1996, has since grown to six stores in New York alone, plus locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. The purveyor of all things pastry currently has an international franchising program with 17 international stores in seven countries.

Thanks to its role in the hit HBO series Sex and the City, the company has expanded beyond cupcakes to offer cakes and the popular banana pudding (an Instagram favorite).

Several other New York-based restaurants have also recently announced plans to move into franchising. Mamoun’s Falafel (with a location in Princeton), the Halal Guys, and Hummus & Pita Co. are among those who are seeking to gain a presence in communities across the country.

For some, the cupcake craze has come and gone, as exemplified by the closing of Crumbs Bake Shop, a cupcake chain that was founded in 2003 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At one point Crumbs was the largest cupcake chain in the United States. In 2012, the company partnered with Starbucks to serve their brand of coffee, teas, and beverages. This collaboration ended in 2013. Other attempts at expansion included the opening of a gluten-free shop (Crumbs Gluten Free) in lower Manhattan. At-home kits and partnerships with various restauranteurs followed. During its peak, Crumbs Bake Shop produced more than 50 varieties of gourmet and extremely decadent cupcakes. By April 2016, Crumbs stock had fallen to $.01 per share, investors fled, and the company closed all locations across the country permanently in December 2016.

But the association between cupcakes and fashion is still alive and thriving at Magnolia Bakery’s Bleecker Street location, the same street that is home to three Marc Jacobs stores.

The company also does an excellent holiday and wedding cake business. Their 2018 Holiday Central Gift Guide, available at magnoliabakery.com, details their winter offerings, which are readily shipped nationwide. A dozen winter-themed or Christmas-themed cupcakes is priced at $65. The Happy Holidays Cookie assortment is $96 and the Party-sized World Famous Banana Pudding starts at $54.

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