Patrons of United Pantry might have noticed some changes recently when they came in for their weekly sushi fix or to stock up on special oriental ingredient staples.
The change did not involve revamping the store's supplies or specials it involved cupcakes.
Not just any cupcakes, but vegan, gluten-free and specialty cupcakes of nearly every imaginable flavor including French toast, margarita and chocolate espresso among others.
Launched in January, Cupcake Factory sits in one corner of United Pantry and supplies store patrons and area residents with specialty breads, cookies, brownies and above all, cupcakes.
"I can do specialty pastries and things like that, but cupcakes have always been sort of a niche for me," said owner Danielle Posey. "It's therapeutic and relaxing for me to make the cupcakes, put toppings on them and make them look pretty. Besides, I've never met a person who hasn't loved a cupcake of some sort."
Although Posey has been baking regularly since she was 13 years old, her journey to self-employed professional baker was long.
She was a cook in the Air Force for four years before receiving a medical discharge due to health problems. From there Posey took a position as a geologist apprentice with a drilling company that operated near Killdeer, where she remained for a year before the industry slowdown forced her to re-evaluate her path.
"Working in that environment gave me the courage to change my life and go for it with starting my own business," she said. "It had always been a dream of mine but I never had the guts before."
Now, eight months into her first year, Posey said business is going well and she is already debating about expanding in the near future.
"Things started slowly but as people began to try them and word of mouth picked up, I started doing several graduations and weddings. I focus on vegan and gluten-free because I care about more than just the flavor of the cupcakes I use cage-free hen eggs and things like that," she said. "I have several friends whose children are allergic to eggs or are affected by gluten. Not many people realize how many are affected by these issues and I think there's a need for these products in town so those affected can enjoy the simple things others do."
Cupcake Factory uses gourmet ingredients to create their baked goods, which come in classic flavors such as vanilla, specialty flavors like chocolate red velvet or exotic flavors like black Russian, French toast topped with a bacon strip or a real chocolate-covered cricket cupcake. So far, Posey said customers have leaned more toward the unusual than the traditional. The price of an individual cupcake varies from $1.50 to $3 depending on the type and can also be sold in bundles.
Beyond the store, Cupcake Factory also offers gift boxes and "cupcake-o-grams" where Posey will deliver cupcakes free of charge in businesses and homes in the Minot area and to Minot Air Force Base.
She also recently started conducting baking classes for children enrolled in various day-care programs in town. Posey has already had four classes with children ranging from 3 to 10 years old.
"It's fun for them, it's fun for me and it's an inexpensive activity," she said.
Posey charges a flat fee of $5 per child per class and is also available to hold private birthday party baking parties.
Depending on how business proceeds, Posey said she might expand her business to include muffins, coffee and scones and daily cupcake specials, but for now she is mastering one cupcake recipe at a time.