– via the Washington Post –
And now a moment of silence for a fallen cupcakery — a prayer for the Red Velvet Cheesecakes that will never be made, a paean to the empty calories that will never be consumed. Crumbs Bake Shop, a national chain based in New York with outlets in 10 cities including the Washington area, closed the doors of all of its stores Monday after a cursory announcement, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its devoted employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options,” the company said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. Those options could include a bankruptcy filing, the spokeswoman said.
The scene in New York was reminiscent of bankers carrying boxes out of Bear Stearns after its 2008 collapse. The Journal: “I come into work today, I’m happy, I’m skipping to work, and suddenly I don’t have a job,” said Kareem Wegman, who has worked at the store for two years and said he has a family to support. The New York Daily News: “I honestly do not know what’s going to happen. All I know is we’re open right now, and the store is full so I can’t talk long,” said one worker at Crumbs on 72nd St. The New York Post: “It’s a real curveball for us,” said a manager at the Crumbs in Brooklyn Heights. “Normally, you get two weeks’ notice when you’re closing down — you don’t get one-day notice.” When it went public in 2011, Crumbs seemed to have it all. Entree into the market too big to be cornered by Magnolia’s. Cupcake momentum fueled by “Sex and the City” and “Saturday Night Live.” And big, big cupcakes. Then came ignominy. Balance sheets that ran red. (It lost $18.2 million last year, the Journal said.) A NASDAQ delisting. “Substantial doubt as to Crumbs’ ability to continue as a going concern.” In one day, 48 locations to zero. Why did Crumbs fail? Maybe it expanded too quickly. Should a mom-and-pop pastry shop founded on the Upper West Side in 2003 be competing with the many Starbucks on and around K Street in Washington, D.C.? Maybe it caught a trend too late. Now we want cronuts. Maybe it was the decor. The very successful Georgetown Cupcake proffers its sweets at a cheery shop with pink-painted walls and pretty window displays, where cupcakes beckon from artfully arranged tiered trays. Crumbs, on the other hand, hawked goods at train stations and in generic shops with plain walls and fluorescent lights reflecting off of cases of cupcakes parked in rows. Not cute. Not fun. Unlike Georgetown, not TV ready. Or maybe the cupcakes were too darn big. Let’s speak plainly: The size was a problem.