For Lisa Racek and Tracey Pace, owners of ‘Downtown Cupcake,’ business is important —but family still comes first.
“We are both stay-at-home moms so we take care of our homes,” Racek said. “(Downtown Cupcake) is totally on the side — our families come first. It is nice to have that flexible business model.”
Downtown Cupcake does not have a store front; instead, it serves individual, custom orders. Running the business out of their homes allows them to put their families first and capitalize on their varied talents.
“I do the business part of it and (Pace) does the baking part of it,” Racek said. “It is a nice shared responsibility we have.”
Pace has been baking for many years, receiving encouragement from friends and family to pursue the idea of starting a business. While she liked the entrepreneurial idea, she did not have the business skills to make it work – until she met Racek.
“I wanted to do something with baking, but I never had a business head,” Pace said. “I didn’t know business so we married our gifts.”
Made to Order
Downtown Cupcake has been enjoying steady growth since opening over a year and a half ago. Because the Blacksburg area does not have a custom bakery, Racek and Pace offer a unique product.
“The business has grown at a steady pace; every month we receive more orders than the last,” Racek said.
In addition to custom orders, Racek said they have expanded to catering for more special events and weddings, which presents a different set of responsibilities.
“With weddings, it is not just about serving, but about setting it up and making it beautiful,” Racek said.
Because Downtown Cupcake does not have a store front, most of its marketing is done through word-of-mouth and special events. In the fall, it was at the Brew Do Craft Beer Festival, and plans to be present for the Blacksburg Fork and Cork Festival.
According to the Downtown Cupcake website, Pace’s kitchen — where all of the baking is done — is certified by the Virginia Department of Agriculture. Because all of its items are custom made, many of the ingredients, like Pace’s homemade vanilla extract, are made from scratch.
“All of the flavors are original and so are the recipes,” Pace said. “The recipes all start out with butter and flour, but I make them my own.”
The cupcake flavors currently offered, according to their website, include strawberry with white chocolate icing, chocolate with Khalua icing, strawberry lemonade, red velvet and chocolate with sweet peanut butter icing.