MESA, AZ — Before the sun rises, the lights click on at Cupcakesters Bakery in Mesa, bringing with it the morning ballet of a family-run business readying for the day.
“I retired from the corporate world, from a paycheck job to start this endeavor,” said owner Julie Smith. “So everything we have is in this building, my passion, my heart, my soul, my family, and my money,”
Julie and her husband Jerry opened the bakery just 18 months ago. Sadly the lifelong dream was quickly battered by the pandemic.
“Everything just took a nosedive. We went from 30 to 40 customers a day, to two to five,” said Julie.
“Yes dear,” said Jerry with a smile as he’s asked to grab a few boxes.
Jerry begins his day here, helping prep frosting and package pies before heading off to his full-time job.
“Being able to help her achieve her goals and her dreams, it’s worth it,” said Jerry.
Married for 30 years, they fell in love the moment they met. “I knew the night I met her. Isn’t that right, Julie?” asked Jerry.
“Yes, you asked me to marry you the night you met me,” Julie shouted back.
They’ve seen ups and downs but the prospect of losing their new business and all they’ve put into it, is almost unbearable. They need $10,000 by the end of October or risk being evicted from their location.
“It breaks my heart because everything I have is in this store, it’s in this community,” said Julie.
It turns out the community feels the same.
“Hearing that they’re struggling has prompted me to come a little more frequently, for me it’s not just convenience, but these really are my neighbors,” said customer and veteran Trevor Gomez.
When word got out, folks dropped off donations. Even resources like sugar and other ingredients.
“That people would come in and say I heard your story, and buy a cupcake, two seconds later somebody else comes in says the same thing, so we sold out on Saturday completely,” said Julie.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help them hit their financial mark. The response so far offering more proof that kindness really does feed the soul.
If you go:
2820 E University Dr # 109
Mesa, AZ 85213