By CRYSTAL SIMMONS
A local business owner is receiving national attention not only for her gourmet cupcakes, cookies and cakes but also her history of benefitting the community.
It all started in February 2013 when Nadia and Sam Saqr opened the first Smallcakes franchise in the Texas region.
“It was a hobby and passion of mine,” she said. “I always made cakes on the side when I had time for birthdays or weddings and then it spread and grew from there. When I decided to open a business, I thought why not do something you love and turn a hobby into a business.”
From the moment she opened, Saqr knew she wanted to be involved in the community.
“Last year when we opened it was around Girl Scout cookie season,” she said. “We bought cookies from about 12 different troops in the area to help support their business. The cupcakes were just a total hit.”
Since then, Saqr has further refined her formula for success, later becoming involved with more non-profits including Cy-Hope, Cy-Fair Relay for Life, Miss Cy-Fair Houston Pageant.
In less than six months, the cupcakery had gained recognition in the Houston market being voted Best Cupcake by the Channel 11 Great Day Houston Viewer Fave Poll, and Best Cupcake and Best Dessert in the Channel 11 Best in Houston Poll. The pinnacle of her success came in January when she was named the Smallcakes CEO for its U.S. franchises, which include 55 locations across 13 states.
Now, Saqr’s expanding her recipe for success to other locations as well as sticking close to her Cy-Fair roots.
“When we first opened we had 70 different recipes. No we’re up to 120, so we’re always looking for something new, whether it’s seasonal or just something that’s fun.”
With Girl Scout cookie season once again in full swing, Saqr released her famous Girl Scout inspired cupcakes last Saturday.
“As soon as cookie season started this year, customers started asking when they’d be back.”
“We try to buy enough to make sure we have enough to last half the year,” said Saqr. “Last year we sold out of our first batch within a month. Then I was able to order more. We were able to make it through four to five months.”
The menu features favorites from last year including Chocolate Coconut, Lemonade Cookie and Thin Mint Cupcakes as well as a brand new award-winning Shortbread cookie inspired cupcake.
“Thin Mints have always been a personal favorite of mine and my husband likes the Carmel Delights, so we always have the cookies around my house,” she said. “You have to think of things you like and then incorporate it into the cupcakes. It was just a perfect fit.”
Saqr developed her new raspberry shortbread cupcake especially for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council’s Just Desserts event held Jan. 23, which invites all the top chefs of Houston to create Girl Scout cookie inspired desserts. Celebrity and Girl Scout judges were asked to choose the best out of eight desserts with Saqr taking two awards for her raspberry shortbread cupcake: Girl Scout Judges Favorites and People’s Choice award.
The Girl Scout themed cupcakes are featured on the Smallcakes Houston menu every Monday. The business is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.smallcakeshouston.com/.
By CRYSTAL SIMMONS