YOUR HOMETOWN — Penn Laird: Sweet Treats: Cupcake Co. Grows Up

Business’ Success May Mean Adding To Areas Served

Posted: March 14, 2013

Renee Brown puts icing atop red velvet cupcakes as her husband, James, and employee Rachel Stone work in the background Tuesday morning at The Cupcake Co., located on Spotswood Trail in Penn Laird. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
Rachel Stone tops “Chocolate Sundae” cupcakes with cherries at The Cupcake Co. Renee Brown began the business just over two years ago in her home, but has since opened a storefront on Spotswood Trail in Penn Laird. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
James Brown and his wife, Renee, help a customer Tuesday morning at The Cupcake Co. in Penn Laird. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
James Brown dips the tops of a valrhona cupcake in a chocolate ganache to make The Cupcake Co.'s “Grasshopper” cupcake Tuesday morning. Brown's wife, Renee, who started the business about two years ago in her home, works in the background. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
At Renee and James Brown’s shop on U.S. 33 in Penn Laird, the cupcake’s the thing.

And it’s serious business.

The couple churn out about 50 dozen cupcakes a day at The Cupcake Co., with about three dozen varieties that include “Dreamsicle,” “Nuddy Buddy” and “Pancake Maple Bacon.”

That’s more than 600 cupcakes each day, depending on the day.

“Valentine’s Day, we probably quadrupled that,” said Renee Brown, 42, of McGaheysville.

The Cupcake Co., which opened its storefront 5471 Spotswood Trail in October, got its start in Brown’s home.

She came up with the idea in fall 2010 and the business started taking orders in January 2011. It later expanded to have a roaming truck for customers to pick up orders.

Now with a permanent home, The Cupcake Co.’s customers can walk in and sit down to enjoy their sweet treats.

“It’s definitely nice to be able to come in, bake them, and have them ready for people to pick up,” she said.

There are five everyday options for cupcakes, with rotating flavors and seasonal varieties as well.

Soon, the business will bring back its truck to offer mobile service at festivals and various locations.

“That’ll give us a whole other dimension,” she said.

Brown said she plans to take it to Broadway and Staunton to meet demand there.

Brown, who is also a Mary Kay sales director, said it can be tiring, but she enjoys working for herself. Her husband, who left his job at Rosetta Stone to work at The Cupcake Co. full time, was skeptical at first, but he now sees the benefits, she said.

“I don’t like working for other people,” she said. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur, and I’ve never liked working for other people. It took my husband awhile to come around, but now he can’t imagine working for anyone else.”

Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or

NDN Video News