“Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes” reads a sign on the wall inside Pinkalicious, a new, gourmet cupcake shop on the upper level of Redmond Town Center.
That sounds like good advice. And we’re not the only ones who think so.
On its opening day, Oct. 31, Pinkalicious sold 2,000 cupcakes, as lines stretched out the door.
“We were just about wiped out by noon,” marveled owner Margo Engberg.
She was stunned, but ecstatic, as one customer after another remarked, “You’re the talk of Redmond!” They’d heard about Pinkalicious while shopping at Macy’s, dining at Spazzo or elsewhere on the streets of downtown Redmond.
These are not common cupcakes, mind you. Engberg’s sweet treats feature flavor combos such as Bananas Foster (banana cupcake with brown sugar-rum buttercream frosting), “The Gabe,” named after her son Gabriel (chocolate cupcake with mint buttercream frosting), “The Rachel,” named after a friend (Pina Colada or rum pineapple cupcake with pineapple coconut buttercream frosting) and Root Beer Float (vanilla cupcake with root beer buttercream).
She’ll offer at least nine different cupcakes in the store each day — and for the holiday season, hopes to add specials such as a chocolate cupcake with peppermint buttercream or eggnog cupcake with rum buttercream.
“People come in and say, “I can’t pick one!’ so I tell them, ‘Well, then, take six!,” said Engberg, laughing.
The vivacious mother of four has been baking cupcakes for as long as she can remember, initially just for family and friends. People liked them so much, she began selling them in quantity, for parties and weddings.
“I never thought I’d open a store,” she said. But lo and behold, it’s there at Redmond Town Center and going gangbusters. Presently, Engberg’s friend Shawn Hemp is her main helper and she has a few employees for the retail operation.
What is it about cupcakes that makes people so happy?
Engberg thinks part of it is “portion control.” You can indulge in a sinfully rich cupcake without feeling too naughty.
And by the way, Engberg can tailor cupcakes to customers with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free varieties.
She named her cupcake shop after her small daughters’ favorite book, “Pinkalicious,” about a little girl who eats so many cupcakes that she turns pink.
Engberg also gives part of her Pinkalicious proceeds to an international charity called Children of the Nations.
“When we brought three of our children home from an orphanage in Guatemala, the thought of them never having a celebration for their birthday was heartbreaking,” she explained. “I just want to make life better for people and their children. If I can do that by providing cupcakes, helping people throw parties or giving towards children in Africa, I will. Whatever it takes to make life a little sweeter.”
Engberg and her family live in Kirkland but she “loves the small-town feel of Redmond,” she said.
She’ll continue to take large orders for private parties and corporate events at Microsoft. At the moment, she’s tickled pink to meet her customers at Redmond Town Center. At a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Nov. 7, there will be coupons and chances for prizes.
For more information about Pinkalicious, visit www.pinkaliciouscupcakes.com.