Northwest News

Campus area proves sweet for cupcake shop

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The move from a mall location to a storefront near the Ohio State University campus has been sweet for a Northwest side couple's business.

Sonya and George Kissi started KissiCakes-n-Sweets in 2010, initially as a home business after Sonya Kissi, a registered pharmacist, was inspired by the Food Network competition show Cupcake Wars.

They opened a store in the Mall at Tuttle Crossing in November 2013, but then moved the business to 2209 N. High St. They officially opened in March.

The mall failed to generate sufficient foot traffic for the cupcake shop, Sonya Kissi said, and the overhead was too high.

"It was like working for the mall instead of having your own business," she said.

A North High Street site so close to campus brings in students, parents, faculty and staff members, not to mention the occasional fraternity or sorority getting a sweet fix, she said.

"During the daytime it's really quiet," said George Kissi, who works at the store while Sonya continues working as a pharmacist. "I'm able to put orders together. Usually from 4 p.m. onwards it gets busy. By that time, the cupcakes are baked and ready to go."

George Kissi is also an insurance agent. Both recently became members of the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

"It would be great if we could only do one thing, but most people this day and age have to multitask," Sonya Kissi said. "I'd love to get to the point in the near future where that's all I'm doing."

"It has been enjoyable," George Kissi said. "It's nice to have your own business, but there are a lot of growing pains you have to endure. We're still growing and we're still learning. We like the freedom of being able to innovate."

He said the couple is negotiating with a shipping company to be able to send their cupcakes, cookies, pies and other treats nationwide.

"The only downer is, because we're so new and growing, we don't get paid yet," he added.

Sonya and George Kissi got the chance to be contestants on Cupcake Wars in January 2012. They were eliminated in the second round.

"It wasn't as fun as it appears on TV," Sonya Kissi said. "It was really stressful ... but it brought in a lot of new customers and created a lot of buzz."

Reruns of the show continue to bring KissiCakes-n-Sweets new customers. Sonya Kissi said they once got a call from someone in England who had seen it.

"I would do it again," she added.

At the new location, Sonya Kissi said customers' tastes are quite different from shoppers at the mall. For one thing, college students are big fans of any cupcake that is alcohol-themed, such as the current flavor of the month, the margarita cupcake.

"A lot of guys -- and more guys than girls come in here -- want the cupcake with bacon on it," Sonya Kissi said. "With bacon, you can't go wrong."

 

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