Carolyne Jackson and Jodi Willoughby of Crave Cupcakes in Alberta and Saskatchewan
Since the start of the pandemic, the sister-led team at Crave Cupcakes has been working harder than ever to treat customers during tough times – launching new delivery models, home-baking kits, and a heartfelt video tribute to their loyal supporters.
“We started Crave with the intention of being part of people’s lives by providing exceptional home baking – and now more than ever, we say thank you for allowing us to be a part of your special moments.” - Carolyne Jackson and Jodi Willoughby, owners of Crave Cupcakes.
Like so many great businesses, Crave Cupcakes was born out of a lifelong passion near and dear to the hearts of sibling co-founders Carolyne Jackson and Jodi Willoughby.
“Our grandmothers, aunts and mom were amazing bakers,” Carolyne and Jodi told us in a joint interview. “They not only taught us how to bake, they passed along their values of quality, honesty and integrity.”
Those values have taken them a long way. Today, Crave has grown to six locations in Calgary, Edmonton, and Saskatoon, employing a team of 100+ amazing people.
Business was booming. But when COVID-19 forced an entire nation to stay-at-home, the sisters had to re-evaluate their short-term plans. It wouldn’t be easy, but they knew their customers needed a sweet pick-me-up more than ever.
“It drove us to think differently about how we could get our product to our customers; how we could make changes to our stores, stay open, and keep as many of our employees working as possible – and how to keep them safe as well as our customers.”
That required a number of operational changes. Hours were reduced at each location and the stores only served 1-3 people at a time. Window displays were removed and cookies individually packaged to minimize handling. They also set up in-store barriers and signage for added protection, and reduced the number of staff working at any given time to ensure enough space for social distancing.
While cupcakes are certainly pandemic-proof, the team has also evolved their menu to encourage at-home baking during quarantine with a new line of decorating kits “The response has been great and we are selling lots,” the sisters told us, adding that a new line of frozen cookie dough is on the way.
The community has shown Crave so much love, It inspired the business to create a touching thank-you video filled with real customer moments – a reminder that we’re all together, even apart. While many challenges lie ahead, Carolyne and Jodi encourage all business owners to remain positive. “Stay strong, be kind, and be patient,” they say.
“And don’t forget to take time to savour the sweet moments.”
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