By: Janice Malone
(photos by: j.malone and mepragency.com)
Last week was quite a busy week in downtown Nashville—The CMA Awards, the TSU Homecoming festivities and also the third anniversary of Nashville’s favorite cupcake family, The Cupcake Collection (TCC) bakery store. Located in the Germantown area of town, the store has become one of the city’s favorite confectionary “place to be” for dessert lovers. The Cupcake Collection partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee www.secondharvestmidtn.org to celebrate three years of sweet goodness with a day of giving and encouraging Nashville to participate in random acts of kindness. “Nashville has given us so much over the last three years we couldn’t imagine celebrating a birthday and not giving back,” shares owner and recently crowned Sugar Queen, Mignon Francois. During the entire day, TCC gave away free cupcakes in exchange for canned goods and successfully met their goal of 300 donations of canned items for Second Harvest Food Bank.
A sea of orange took over Downtown Nashville during the TCC Sugar Rush (hour) from 7am-9am at 4th and Commerce. Passersby, on their way to work, received free cupcakes, enjoyed the Music City Soul street dancers, and participated in recording the Cupcake Jingle. Some people arrived as early as 6:45am! Two representatives from Second Harvest were also on hand to receive canned donations. The festivities continued at The Cupcake Collection bakery in Germantown, as free cupcakes were given out all day in exchange for three canned goods donation. “What we’ve learned through working with Second Harvest is that the face of hunger can look like any of us…we must take a moment to stop and help,” adds Mignon. The Cupcake Collection was able to reach their goal but now they’re asking the public to continue donating canned goods for the remainder of their birthday month. Mignon Francois was so overwhelmed by Nashville’s support she’s committed to doing more. She says,”TCC is asking that Nashville keep up their random acts of kindness throughout the month of November, upload their act on facebook.com/cupcakecollection or tweet @cupcaketweets, and be entered to win their very own cupcake celebration for their good deed.”
TRIBUNE: Being crowned Her (Magazine) Nashville Sugar Rush Queen
Mignon: “This was a contest done by HER Nashville Magazine. It was a tough competition among several other cupcake and dessert specialty shops here in Nashville. The voters voted The Cupcake Collection as the winner. The official title is ‘Nashville’s Sweetheart.’ I’m really enjoying the title too!”
TRIBUNE: How did you guys start working with Second Harvest Food Bank?
MIGNON: “This is our third year anniversary as a business. In our first two years we’ve always given something back to the community. So for this year when we heard about the Second Harvest Food Challenge, so we thought it would be nice to let them be the beneficiary of our gift. As a family who was a former ‘hungry family’ ourselves, we know first-hand about what it’s like for regular everyday working people to still be in need of assistance. So when we heard about the food bank needing some help we were ready to pitch in.”
TRIBUNE: I’m sure readers will be surprised to know that you guys were once in need like that, especially since you’re now so successful.
MIGNON: “Yes, we don’t want to forget those days either, which wasn’t that long ago. We were a working family who had a house but we often had problems of keeping the electric on every month. That’s one of the reasons why we’re always looking for ways to give back and we don’t want our children to forget those times. We’re always keeping them involved, making sure they remember it wasn’t that long ago when our family was in that position of needing help. And also for them to work towards helping others improve their lives too.”
TRIBUNE: What will the Cupcake Collection be doing for the holiday season?
MIGNON: “We have a lot going on, starting with the grand opening of our new store in the Opryland Hotel. (Opened November 17th). The store will be part of the Opryland Hotel’s Holly Jolly Town Dreamworks Experience for six weeks. It’s a beautiful display of a 1950’s replica style town and we are the bakery within the town. The new store will be open 7-days a week. We are closed on Saturdays at the Germantown store because that’s our day of church worship. We are Seventh Day Adventists. The proceeds from the Saturday sales of the new store location will be placed in a community fund to help those who are in need. Maybe the person is not necessarily homeless or on welfare, but those who are working but still are coming up short and are barely making. We’ve already chosen our first recipients.”
TRIBUNE: This past summer you guys had the Cupcakes for College promotional tour that helped five young men (their former employees) raise money for their first year of college. What’s the update on our fab-five students?
MIGNON (LOL): “All five of them are doing just great. Two of them are students at Morehouse College in Atlanta and the other three are at MTSU. Not only are they in college but they’re making very good grades too. We’re very proud of them. All of the boys are graduates of MLK High School here in Nashville. The school really prepared them well for college and we just want to say thank you to the faculty on what a great job they’re doing with the kids.”
TRIBUNE: Do you guys plan on doing another Cupcakes for College Tour?
MIGNON: “Yes, we plan on starting another tour in the spring of 2012. This time we’re planning on taking the tour bus to various colleges and giving scholarships to each campus that we visit. We’ll be coordinating the tour with the various campus student governments. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a scholarship to help students. Everyone at The Cupcake Collection is very excited about this upcoming tour.”
For more information about The Cupcake Collection and their holiday hours please visit their website at www.TheCupcakeCollection.com