SmallCakes Cupcakery going global

smallcakes dubaisource:

SmallCakes Cupcakery has announced that its first International franchise location will open in the Aswaaq Mall in Dubai, under the leadership of new franchisee Saud Alnuaimi.

The Aswaaq Mall is the first franchise location in Dubai with two more scheduled to open soon.

“SmallCakes wants to become the neighborhood cupcakery for all the cities in the UAE,” Founder Jeff Martin said in a news release.

SmallCakes has more than 75 locations in the U.S. and specializes in gourmet cupcakes baked fresh daily.

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Smallcakes Cupcakery is rocking Ocala, FL

oscalaBy Rick Allen

The adage “whenever a cupcake bakery closes, another opens on the other side of town” couldn’t be more apt. Facts Smallcakes: A Cupcakery is opening in Ocala, FL.

Where: 4701 SW College Road
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday
Info: 484-1127
It happened right here, this very month.

Renowned for its crazy creative cupcakes, the Blakely House a block off Silver Springs Boulevard just east of downtown closed its doors with little warning earlier in April.

And about the same time, nearly six miles to the southwest, Smallcakes: A Cupcakery opened its doors in the plaza anchored by the Bonefish Grill on State Road 200.

“It surprised us,” said Smallcakes owner Rasha Elmallah, who said she decided to go into cupcaking as a way to get out of a daily drive to Gainesville.

“I was working at the University of Florida and on maternity leave,” she said. “I decided I didn’t want to commute anymore, to leave my baby.”

In reconnecting with a college friend, Nadia Saqr, through Facebook, she discovered Saqr owned a Smallcakes franchise in Houston.

It didn’t take Elmallah long to contact the chain and sign on as owner of Smallcakes’ southernmost outlet in Florida.

“In about two days, my life changed completely,” Elmallah said.

And here she was, an IT project manager specializing in software installation now with a soft, new baby and making sweet treats to soften the soul of the grouchiest grump.

“Cupcakes make people happy,” she said.

“And people don’t grumble about this,” she added — especially her, even though she’s probably putting in more hours now than before.

Smallcakes is the creation of baker Jeff Martin, who competed three times on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

It’s named for Martin’s daughter, Elmallah said — well, her nickname, that is; after all, I don’t know many parents who could get away naming their daughter “Smallcakes.”

In the past several years, the chain has been growing; there are at least 60 locations around the U.S. and three overseas.

Just two days after opening, Smallcakes participated in the most recent Taste of Ocala — and captured the award for Best Dessert.

“I’d already left when they announced it,” Elmallah said. “I was in my car on 200 coming back to the shop.”

Every morning, Elmallah said, her quiet, pastel-decorated shop is cupcake central, where she and her staff crank out a dozen standing flavors and between two and four rotating specialty varieties.

On most days, they produce some 700 cupcakes — and can whip up more as needed.

The bulk of the business is carry-out. They have boxes to handle one, two, four, six and 12 cupcakes.

Eventually, gluten-free cupcakes will be available several days of the week, she added, although they can’t be certified gluten free because they’re made in the same kitchen, she conceded in a recent post on Facebook.

And don’t worry about getting yesterday’s cakes; at the end of the day, everything not sold is donated to one of several local organizations, she added.

Courtney Allen and Julie Todaro sat at the lone table in the shop the other day finishing cupcakes they’d purchased earlier.

“A friend brought some in and shared,” Allen said; Todaro said she read about the shop on Facebook. They decided, “let’s go get cupcakes.”

“It’s delicious,” Allen said.

“Mine’s gone,” Todaro added.

Next door, at Hoggtowne Music, Richard Simmons said one of his fellow workers gets “a cupcake every day.” But not him.

“I’m not a sweets person,” he declared. “But when they start serving coffee, I’ll go broke.”

Guess what, Richard; your neighbor this week started espresso and other designer coffee drinks.

While there’s already a steady flow of patrons in and out the door, Ocala’s Smallcakes’ official grand opening isn’t until May 17, when Martin will be down as well as her friend, Saqr — who just happens to now be the CEO of the company.

A specialty that day will be frosting shots, which are exactly as they sound: a shot glass filled with frosting.

In a pair of overstuffed chairs at the front of the shop, Samantha Armas and Marcella Hughes were enjoying a “girls’ night out.”

“There are a lot of frozen yogurt and ice cream places,” Hughes said. “This is different; it’s still sweet and fills that craving, but it’s not ice cream!”

Each of them held a box containing two more cupcakes; just how much of a “girls’ night out” was this going to be?

“We only ate one each,” Armas said.

Added her friend: “Yeah, we have husbands at home expecting these.”

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Smallcakes Cupcakery Plans Ribbon-Cutting in Naperville, IL on May 9

MargaritaSmallcakes is excited to open a new location in Naperville! There will be a ribbon-cutting on May 9 at 11:30 am. Customers can get samples, frosting shots and enter for a chance to win prizes at the new cupcake shop’s celebration.

Smallcakes is located at 115 E. Ogden Ave., Suite 119.

Cupcake varieties include Nutella-Wella, Pineapple Coconut, Orange Creamsicle, Strawberry Cheese Cake and Boston Cream Pie, among many others.

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Smallcakes launches new concept–Cupcake Ice Cream–in Overland Park, KS

April 2, 2014 – Overland Park, KS – Smallcakes: A Cupcakery, the wildly popular international cupcake brand, will launch a new concept in mid-May at Dear Creek Marketplace.

“I couldn’t be more excited about launching Smallcakes Creamery in Overland Park,” says Jeff Martin, founder of Smallcakes: A Cupcakery. “Being based in Kansas City with several locations around Kansas and Missouri, we thought it was the best place to open our new concept, especially with our loyal cupcake fans.

Everyone has an extremely vivid and pleasant memory of where they went as a child to get their favorite ice cream, candy, and other childhood novelties – whether it was the corner store or their Grandma’s house. Smallcakes Creamery is a nostalgic re-creation of that classic and bygone era.

Smallcakes Creamery will offer 15 daily flavors of their cupcake ice cream. We are taking our world famous cupcakes and turning them into rich, decadent ice cream. Some of our flavors will include Birthday Cake, Caramel Crunch, and Red Velvet. The new concept will also have fresh made cotton candy, ice cream sandwiches, candy, frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and rolled in rainbow sprinkles and other sweet novelties. The location will be open from10-9 Sunday-Thursday and 10-10 Friday-Saturday. Hours might vary in the summer.

Martin launched Smallcakes A Cupcakery in 2008 and the company has since grown to over 70 locations offering specialty cupcakes baked fresh daily. Martin and Smallcakes have received national acclaim with his three appearances on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, a feature on the morning television show The View, catering cupcakes to star-studded events such as the MTV Video Music Awards, and being listed as one of the Top Ten Cupcake Places to try in the country by USA Today.

The new concept will join our franchise system with franchise locations coming to Marietta GA, Nashville TN, and parts of Florida.

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Popular Smallcakes Cupcakery Comes to Ocala April 3rd

March 26, 2014 – Ocala, FL – There’s a new dessert in town – decadent,
gourmet cupcakes. Smallcakes: A Cupcakery, a wildly popular international
cupcake brand, is set to open a location in Ocala at 4701 S.W. College Road on
April 3rd.

Smallcakes was founded by Jeff Martin in Kansas City in 2009 and has grown to
over 60 locations offering specialty cupcakes baked fresh daily. Martin and
Smallcakes have received national acclaim with his three appearances on the
Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, a feature on the morning television show The
View, catering cupcakes to star-studded events such as the MTV Video Music
Awards, and being listed as one of the Top Ten Cupcake Places to try in the
country by USA Today.

“We’re thrilled to be growing in the Florida market and to be able to call Ocala
home to one of our shops,” says Martin. “We pride ourselves on delivering
delicious cupcakes made from scratch every morning right from the kitchen of
your neighborhood cupcakery.”

The cupcakery’s daily menu features 12 signature flavors – Birthday Cake,
Caramel Crunch, Chocolate Cream, Chocoholic, Cookies N Crème, Hot Fudge
Sundae, Lemon, Peanut Butter Cup, Pink Chocolate, Pink Vanilla, Red Velvet,
and Vanilla-N-Chocolate – as well as a rotation of over 140 specialty flavors such
as Fat Elvis, Cannoli, Strawberries N’ Crème, Marble Cheesecake, Tiramisu,
Apple Stuffed French Toast, and Pumpkin.

The Ocala franchise is owned and operated by area local Rasha El Mallah.
Smallcakes Ocala will be open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday
through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 12 noon
to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information visit Smallcakes online at and on Facebook.

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Popular Cupcake Brand Opens First Illinois Franchise

March 31, 2014 – Naperville, IL – Smallcakes: A Cupcakery, a wildly popular
international cupcake brand with over 60 locations across the U.S., is set to open
a location in Naperville at 115 E. Ogden Avenue in mid April. Naperville will be
the first franchise for the Chicago area and for the state of Illinois.
“Chicago has such a rich culture with excellent food and desserts, and we’re
excited to be a part of it with our decadent cupcakes,” says Jeff Martin, founder
of Smallcakes: A Cupcakery.

Martin launched Smallcakes in 2009 in Kansas City offering specialty cupcakes
baked fresh daily. The cupcakery is widely known for its unique flavors and
exceptionally moist desserts. Martin and Smallcakes have received national
recognition following three appearances on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars,
a feature on the morning television show The View, catering cupcakes to starstudded
events such as the MTV Video Music Awards, and being listed as one of
the Top Ten Cupcake Places to try in the country by USA Today.

The cupcakery’s daily menu features 12 signature flavors – Birthday Cake,
Caramel Crunch, Chocolate Cream, Chocoholic, Cookies N Crème, Hot Fudge
Sundae, Lemon Drop, Peanut Butter Cup, Pink Chocolate, Pink Vanilla, Red
Velvet, and Vanilla-N-Chocolate – as well as a rotation of over 140 specialty
flavors such as Fat Elvis, Cannoli, Maple Bacon, Strawberry Cheesecake,
Tiramisu, Kentucky Bourbon, and Pumpkin.

The Naperville franchise is owned and operated by area locals Robert and Jill

Smallcakes Naperville will will be open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday through Saturday and 12 noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information
visit Smallcakes online at and on Facebook.

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Smallcakes A Cupcakery opens on 39th Street

By JOYCE SMITH, The Kansas City Star.

Smallcakes A Cupcakery is now open on 39th Street’s restaurant row.

Earlier this year, Kevin Combs, an area franchisee, was in final negotiations to open a Smallcakes kiosk on the first floor of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at the University of Kansas Hospital and Medical Center on Rainbow Boulevard.

That deal fell through. But a new deal a few blocks away got him a storefront.

The shop softly opened Friday at 1710 W. 39th St., but Combs is still waiting for his new pink and brown awning.

“We love it. There has just been tons and tons of foot traffic,” Combs said. “We have locations in every suburb, but this is our first in Kansas City, Mo.”

The new Smallcakes shop will sell a variety of gourmet cupcakes.

Every day it will have 15 regular flavors including creamy lemon, caramel crunch, and peanut butter cup.

But it also will have five more special flavors that will rotate out of a list of 135, including pink champagne, root beer float, Lick My Butterfinger, chocolate malt, maple bacon, PB&J, and Fruity Pebbles.

Prices are $3.25 per cupcake or $36 per dozen.

The shop will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Combs is planning a grand opening in about two weeks.

Rock-N-Moroccan and Beignet had previously operated in the space.

Combs also will be shopping for a food truck this weekend with plans to start a Smallcakes truck in the next few weeks.

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Smallcakes Houston helps local Girl Scouts

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

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Smallcakes offers sweet treats in array of flavors

by Jane Reuter

As owner of the recently opened Lone Tree Smallcakes, Heidi Hamilton is in the business of making people smile.

“People are happier when they eat,” said Hamilton, who co-owns the gourmet cupcake shop with her husband Darren.

And that makes Hamilton’s work a piece of (cup) cake. The Castle Rock mother spends her mornings baking cupcakes and also helps serve them to customers.

“This doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “It always feels like Saturday.”

Smallcakes offers 120 flavors of cupcakes, with 12 varieties baked fresh each day.

Flavors range from unusual — like maple bacon and chai tea — to the more traditional chocolate cream and pink vanilla. The cakes range in size from mini to large, with the most popular large size priced at $3.25 apiece.

“They’re big — twice as big as a cupcake you’d make at home,” Hamilton said.
The colorfully frosted cupcakes are popular choices for birthday parties and weddings. And unlike a traditional cake, Hamilton said, “You can mix and match so everyone can get what they want.”

The business is a happy surprise for the Hamilton, who wasn’t planning to open a cupcake franchise. But in researching the ideal franchise, Smallcakes repeatedly popped onto her computer screen. Hamilton was seduced not only by its sugary appeal, but the franchise’s rapid growth.

Franchise founder Jeff Martin, 35, and his wife Brandy opened the first Smallcakes in Kansas City in 2009. The franchise now includes almost 60 shops in 13 states. The Lone Tree store is Colorado’s only Smallcakes. So far.

“We hope to expand to other locations,” Hamilton said.

Smallcakes is among several national cupcakes chains. The cupcake craze was sparked in 2000 by a “Sex and the City” episode in which two of the main characters chatted over gourmet cupcakes.

The 2010 debut of the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars” further fueled the single-serving dessert’s popularity. Smallcakes’ founder Martin competed during three episodes of the show.

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Cupcake Confidential: Cupcake Ice Cream coming soon!

by Brian McTavish

It’s good to be the Cupcake King.
That marvelous moniker is an informal one for Jeff Martin, yet also undoubtedly heartfelt by the 35-year-old founder of the increasingly successful Smallcakes franchise business.
Five years ago, Martin’s cupcakes were born in the kitchen of his Kansas City area home. Today, he licenses close to 60 Smallcakes franchise stores in 12 states, from California to Florida. Each store, including seven locally, bakes and sells 500 to 700 fresh cupcakes daily, generating a total of nearly $2.5 million in annual sales.
Reflecting on his sweet accomplishment, Martin laughs—he likes to laugh a lot—and calls those numbers “crazy.”
“It is amazing,” Martin said, “because it’s just a cupcake.”
The humble cupcake has led to appearances on “Cupcake Wars” and “The View” and turned Martin into something of a celebrity. At the grand openings of Smallcakes stores, his fans seek out his autograph and wait for him to say, “Maybe a cupcake will help.”
“It makes everything better,” Martin said of his increasingly well-known treat. “I’m telling you, we get people in here who are mad at the world, we get people who are down, we get people who are happy—but they always walk out with a smile and happier.”
Martin credits his company’s rapid rise to many things, starting with the handmade quality of his super-moist cupcakes that are available in up to 120 varieties, as well as his relentless ambition and readiness to make sacrifices, especially in the early stages of entrepreneurship.
But Martin knows he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is today—and won’t get to where he wants to be tomorrow—without his star-making origin story that continues to inspire Smallcakes franchisees and customers alike.

‘I Was All In on Cupcakes’
In 2008, Martin was visiting family in his native Atlanta with his wife and young daughter, when he noticed a crowd outside of an old cupcake store.
“We go in there and get six cupcakes and take them back to my parents’ house,” he recalled. “And we’re eating them, and we’re like, ‘These things are horrible— why was there a line out the door?’”
Martin began to mull the intrinsic appeal of specialty cupcakes—even inferior ones—as a relatively inexpensive indulgence that appealed not only to kids, but to the kid in everyone. The more he thought about it, the more he believed that he could combine his Southern cooking savvy and culinary school training to make and market a much tastier cupcake.
“We’re driving down to the beach in Florida,” Martin recalled, “and we’re saying: ‘That place was something. Why was it so busy? There’s nothing like that in the Midwest.’ And I said, ‘Why not just try it?’”
Martin was already a franchisee of a local Planet Sub sandwich shop. And his wife’s longtime career in medical supply sales was going well. So he figured he could start a tiny cupcake business on the side to see where it led.
But he wasn’t flush, either, with only $3,000 in savings to sink into the new venture. And, despite Martin’s strong entrepreneurial hunch, the landlord of the first Smallcakes space in Overland Park didn’t think much of the idea.
“He put me on a month-to-month lease,” Martin said, “so, in case it went bad, I could just leave everything and walk away.”
He baked in the wee hours at home and transported his daily product to the store until he could afford a commercial oven on site. Martin sold out of his first-day inventory of 100 cupcakes in just 45 minutes. On the second day, he sold out of 175 cupcakes in an hour. On the third day, he sold out of 300 cupcakes in four and a half hours. After a week, Martin was selling 500 cupcakes a day, and
after a few months, as many as 700 a day were going out the door.
That was enough to get him to sell his Planet Sub franchise, albeit to the disbelief of others.
“I was all in on cupcakes,”
Martin said. “And I cannot tell you how many friends and family said this was the dumbest thing ever: ‘How could you leave Planet Sub? Sandwiches are popular. Everyone eats sandwiches. Not a lot of people eat cupcakes.’
“But I felt pretty good about it,” he said. “I mean, at 700 cupcakes a day, I was selling more cupcakes than sandwiches some days.”
Then opportunity rang.

The Missing Ingredient
“Six months in, I get a phone call,” Martin said. “They say, ‘This is so-and-so with the Food Network.’ I go, ‘Hey, don’t play with me,’ and I hung up. When you’re the only employee baking and selling cupcakes, you get a little stressed out. You don’t have time for that stuff. Thank goodness, they called back.”
When they did—Martin still doesn’t know how they found him—he was invited to put his cupcake-making skills to the test on a new Food Network competitive cooking show called “Cupcake Wars.” Two days later, he and an assistant were on a plane headed for Los Angeles.
What followed has become the stuff of Smallcakes legend:
Although the show’s judges praised his pumpkin cupcake, when Martin admitted he’d actually forgotten to put in the pumpkin, he was voted off the show. Disaster? Not in the hands of the future Cupcake King.
“Well, we came home and we made a joke about it,” Martin said, “because, after you get to know me, it’s all about fun. You can win, you can lose, whatever. But we took out a billboard on I-35 that said: ‘Smallcakes forgot the pumpkin.’ We made shirts. I’ve shipped those shirts everywhere.”
He couldn’t have planned it better, he said. “I had people calling and going, ‘My kids and I watched the show. You did a good thing.’ I had churches calling and going, ‘You know, telling the truth is the right thing to do.’”
Martin caught the attention of actress, talk-show host and cupcake lover Whoopi Goldberg, who wanted “the guy who forgot the pumpkin” to be part of a segment devoted to cupcakes on “The View.” Martin didn’t appear on the show, but he watched off-camera in the studio as Goldberg and her co-hosts delightfully devoured Smallcakes cupcakes in front of a national TV audience.
“‘Cupcake Wars’ was the first step,” Martin said. “This was a lot bigger—tons of validation. We’ve been on ‘The View.’ We’re good.”

‘Let’s Franchise This Thing’
But Martin’s cupcake ambition was pushing him to be great, so “instead of being happy with just that, what was next?” he said. “Next was franchising. Let’s franchise this thing.”
In late 2010, after a yearlong stint with a business-franchising company that failed to produce a single deal, Martin decided to start selling Smallcakes franchises on his own. It didn’t take long for him to discover what potential franchisees really wanted. Yes, they wanted to be taught about the business, and they wanted to make money. But, more than anything, they wanted to bond with the man who made the cupcakes.
“What we learned is that people like the personal connection,” Martin said. “They want to talk to the guy who’s been on TV. We didn’t know that I was the face, and I was going to have to continue to be the face.”
Martin can picture a day when that face might be part of Smallcakes in-store displays and other advertising. But he won’t slap his brand on just anything.
“It’s got to make sense,” he said. “Someone wanted to make a Smallcakes vodka. Well, that doesn’t work for Smallcakes. That’s not who we are. We’re a kid-friendly, family-friendly place.”
Martin sees himself staying busy selling and promoting franchises in 2014, including the company’s planned international expansion, starting with one store each in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Pasig City in the Philippines.
A lot of fun for Martin still comes from dreaming up new kinds of cupcakes, like maple bacon.
“It’s the best cupcake we have,” Martin said. “People are scared, but when they taste it, they’re like, ‘Holy crap, this is awesome!’”
Could it be any other way for Cupcake King? Wait—maybe make that the Cupcake Ice Cream King. Smallcakes stores already offer cupcake milkshakes, but Martin wants to grow the combination concept into cupcake
ice cream shops.
“We’re going to call it cupcake ice cream, where we fold in cupcake crumbles and make different ice cream,” Martin said. “Some of our busiest stores are next to yogurt shops, because let’s say you’re on a date —one person might want a cupcake, one person might want a yogurt, so we can put those together. Instead of jumping off into another venture, we say, ‘We’ve got a brand, people know it, let’s build on it.’”

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