Crave Cupcake Boutique...making Beaufort Smile

By Anna McKinley |  Although the tiny, one-story building sits well off the street corner in Uptown Beaufort, the bright pink exterior makes it hard to miss. Dwarfed by palm trees and accented with crisp white trim, it is the proud home of Crave CupCake Boutique, the first of its kind in Beaufort. In a town that is used to seeing small businesses come and go, owners Charles Francis and Tamecka Petty have quickly gained a following by offering quality product, friendly service and a drive to be a positive force in their community.

Charles and Tamecka didn’t set out to be entrepreneurs’; it came about almost as a necessity. Charles laughs recalling Tamecka’s obsession with baking. “She was always baking for friends and family,” he says. “Our electric bill kept getting bigger and bigger because she was always baking.”

Working in the medical field, Tamecka found her true passion in taking family recipes and perfecting them through trial and error. Eventually, it became evident to her and Charles that leaving the medical field and opening their own business would allow her to do what she loved.

The first taste of success came when the duo baked and sold over 1500 cupcakes at the Hampton Watermelon Festival. The event was such a success that the residents of Hampton spread word of mouth about Crave’s cupcakes all the way down to the Beaufort area. Word of mouth, and Tamecka’s knack for savvy marketing, is helping to make Crave a new landmark in the downtown/Uptown area.  Open for a full year next month, the family business is looking to grow in a variety of ways.  One is the Crave Mobile Bakery, which will be rolling through the streets of Beaufort in the coming months.

The bubble gum pink extends to the interior, where a display case shows off hundreds of brightly colored cupcakes. Children in the owners’ families have helped to give the made-from-scratch cupcakes unique names such as ‘Knock Your Socks off’, ‘Mean Big Brother’,  and ‘Pinky and the Brain’.  Topped with five icing flavors –cream cheese, key lime, lemon, chocolate, and vanilla buttercream- the cupcakes are fun, festive and delectable.  Often, the small staff of Crave can be found mixing icing as early as 6 am; the icing is made fresh every day, from scratch.

Only recently growing in popularity, cupcakes are now being seen as a dessert in their own right, no longer reserved for children’s parties or snacks. Local brides have followed national trends and commissioned Crave to create a cupcake wedding ‘cake’; typically a small cake atop tiers of cupcakes. While cost effective for the bride, it is also convenient for guests, allowing everyone to pick flavors as they choose with no cutting necessary. This convenience extends to regular customers as well, especially those dieters who feel less guilty with a small pre-portioned dessert.

Charles, a lowcountry native, believes that the secret to longevity in the local economy is gaining the trust of your customers, and becoming a part of the community. To that end, Crave has been known to offer free tastings, free samples and allow a customer to try a new flavor before purchase.

Tamecka, a Ft. Lauderdale native, is also intent on becoming a part of the community and is a proud member of a local high school booster club.

From the ‘Cupcake Lady’ car parked outside of the colorful shop, to the unique names and flavors of the cupcakes, Crave is set to become an icon of the Beaufort community.

Crave CupCake Boutique is located at 1103 Boundary St., in Beaufort’s Uptown District, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 7pm.

Check out Crave’s Facebook page to keep up with new flavors, ideas, news, and every Wednesday when they give away free cupcakes!