By Dave Mayfield The Virginian-Pilot.
Dawn Eskins knows a little about cupcakes.
She says her business, Carolina Cupcakery, sold more than a half-million of the treats last year at its local shops or for weddings and other events.
She's competed with cupcake baking's elite on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars."
So the closing last week of Crumbs, one of America's largest cupcake bakery chains, didn't surprise her.
Nor did the headlines that followed the New York-based chain's sudden shutdown. "Is the cupcake craze crumbling?" wondered The Christian Science Monitor. "The cupcake craze has gone cold," opined The New York Times.
Crumbs crumbled, Eskins says, because it grew too fast to be managed effectively. "They tried to bite off too big a bite." (Late last week, Crumbs said it may try to reopen.)
Eskins says the naysayers may be right, eventually, about cupcakes, but it's way too soon to call the craze over.
She's heard of three new cupcake specialists getting ready to start up in Hampton Roads, Va., in the coming months, Eskins says.
That's on top of several already duking it out for market share.
Not all of them will survive, Eskins says. But she expects to. "It's just a matter of continuing to bob and weave and make sure you're different."
And she has a backup plan, just in case.
She's made sure that her two shops in Norfolk and Chesapeake are equipped to switch to other baked treats, should the opportunity arise.
What might they be? She's not saying.