Hugs & Hissyfits owner to open Smallcakes, A Cupcakery, at the Shops at Tallgrass

WICHITA — Wichita finally is getting Smallcakes, A Cupcakery. It’s just coming three years after founder Jeff Martin planned, and he’s not the one bringing it.

Lexi Bruner is opening the cupcake business in the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road where her Hugs & Hissyfits also is located.

“I like to stay busy,” Bruner says of opening the second business.

“We have a big family, so it keeps lots of people in my family busy.”

When Martin first shared his hopes for opening in Wichita, he had only two Smallcakes sites in the Kansas City area and was a veteran of the Food Network’s first season of “Cupcake Wars.”

Since then, he’s franchised the business – there are 25 open now, and there should be 40 by the end of the year – and had more national television exposure.

“We went from, like, zero to 60 so fast,” Martin says. “I’m really busy now. … I couldn’t do any more stores myself.”

Bruner says she considered a few different franchises before selecting Smallcakes.

“The others were just very corporate,” she says. “They were nice, but we just liked Jeff’s personality. He cares, and he wants to be involved, and he’s still really excited about what he does.”

Martin says he started the business in 2008 in a tough economic climate.

“The way we did it was very simple, and we just kept it that way,” he says.

“It’s very cheap compared to … these other franchises. … You don’t have to sink a bunch of money into a Smallcakes.”

The most a franchisee has to pay is about $115,000, Martin says.

He says he’s expanded the business to include much more than cupcakes.

“As we grow, we keep adding stuff that makes sense.”

That includes cookies and, if a franchisee chooses, cakes and doughnuts.

Martin says each year, he’s made improvements to how the stores look and operate as well.

“I think this Wichita store’s probably going to be one of the best.”

He says a lot of Wichitans have already been Smallcakes customers in Kansas City.

“The great thing is we’ve already got a following in Wichita.”

Bruner plans seating for about 15 people. Instead of traditional seating at tables, she’s planning “comfy chairs.”

April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled the deal for the 1,363-square-foot space.

Look for Smallcakes to open the third week of April.

Even though it’s not quite how he planned it, Martin says, “I’m just excited to be in Wichita finally.”