Nadia Cakes in Maple Grove
Earlier this year, as Abby Jimenez and her family were getting settled into their new Champlin home following a move from California, Jimenez engaged in a popular mid-winter Minnesota hobby: she baked. Banana cake, cookies and of course, cupcakes—treats she sent to school with her oldest daughters, Naomi, 7, and Nadia, 6, or simply bestowed upon lucky neighbors, fresh from the kitchen of a Food Network “Cupcake Wars” champion.
Maple Grove, consider Abby Jimenez your favorite new neighbor. In May, she and her talented staff opened the second Nadia Cakes shop in the United States at The Fountains at Arbor Lakes, featuring custom-made cakes, cupcakes (with more than 135 flavors in their repertoire), cookies, macaroons, trifles and even ice-cream cupcakes.
In 2009, Jimenez launched her first highly successful store—Nadia Cakes, her middle daughter’s nickname—in Palmdale, California (outside Los Angeles) after two years spent churning out delicious baked goods from a home-based business.
“I have always loved to bake. I first started baking cakes and cupcakes when I was on maternity leave and took the first cake decorating class I’d ever taken at Michael's,” says Jimenez, who along with husband Carlos, now CFO of Nadia Cakes, has an extensive retail background. “My business started to grow and I knew I was on to a good thing, so we invested everything we had to open our Palmdale store.”
When the time came to consider a second Nadia Cakes location, the couple’s search led them surprisingly to Minnesota.
“There are a lot of cupcake shops in California. In fact, another “Cupcake Wars” winner has a bakery less than three miles from our Palmdale store,” she says. “We decided if we were going to move, we wanted to be someplace where we really wanted to raise our family.”
Last summer the Jimenez clan, which also includes four-year-old daughter Maya and Carlos's son, Noah, 10, literally hit the road to scout locations. They considered 23 states in all, including New York City and the Washington, D.C./Virginia area where Abby has family.
“Carlos used to work with Room and Board, so he spent time here in Minnesota and always heard what a great place it is to raise kids,” she says.
The Maple Grove location for Nadia Cakes is also a perfect fit and extremely compatible with the vibe the owners want to create in the community. “We’re not an urban bakery. We want to serve the soccer moms, the brides planning a wedding, people looking for a special dessert,” she says.
Nadia Cakes at The Fountains at Arbor Lakes is approximately 2,200 square feet, almost twice the size of the Palmdale store. Surrounded by windows in the café seating area (where coffee and cupcakes can be enjoyed on-site), the shop features a huge glass-enclosed cupcake case, chandelier, three-sided fireplace and a private area (complete with antique sofa) for customers to discuss special orders with a baker. According to Jimenez, this new location contains “pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted in a store.”
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