Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Bakery inside Vista Ridge Mall gets massive makeover on TLC’s Bakery Boss
Kristi G's Cupcakes & More was on the brink of failure before Bobby Valastro stepped in.
LEWISVILLE If you’ve never heard of locally based Kristi G’s Cupcakes & More, you’re not alone. Located inside Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville, the shop was the money-sucking passion project of owner Kristi Gravitt, who left her corporate job in human resources to pursue a dream.
Kristi G’s was $125,000 in the hole, but there was a glimmer of hope. In September, Gravitt and her family received the no-bull breakdown from Bobby “Cake Boss” Valastro on a new TLC series called Bakery Boss, which aired Monday, December 9.
Gravitt desperately needed the help. She had encountered a slew of problems with her business: She had no professional experience in baking, no gumption as store leader and no way to make her product stand out. After nearly two years, Gravitt thought about throwing in her apron.
“Our business really was failing,” Gravitt said. “[Bakery Boss] very truly was our last effort.”
When Valastro showed up in Lewisville, he unveiled new problems. Kristi G’s bakery had no freezer, which meant pastries were made from scratch and thrown out daily. Gravitt’s staff, consisting of her husband Kenny, her daughter Dallas and her mother-in-law Booger, weren’t handling their respective jobs seriously. Cupcakes were frosted inconsistently, and the bakery didn't have a wide menu, despite advertising “and more” in its name.
The show seemed like a recipe for disaster rather than dessert.
Despite the ever-growing list of difficulties, however, one thing held promise — the cake. Valastro wasn’t a fan of the icing, which he said tasted artificial and far too sweet. But the cake, he said, was moist.
From that point, the Gravitt family endured a whirlwind of emotional challenges, including one stint in boot camp with a professional drill sergeant. Gravitt’s lack of confidence brought her to tears several times during the episode, as she struggled to break her “nice guy” habits and firmly delegate tasks.
The turning point of the show came after the store’s redesign. Gravitt was initially convinced her location in the mall was the reason the bakery was struggling. But after changing the wall colors, rearranging the equipment and adding a few necessary amenities (ahem, a freezer), she admitted the business’ issues stemmed from its image.
“We thought the store was beautiful,” Gravitt laughed. “When we applied for the show, my husband even said, ‘I don’t know if they’ll take us ‘cause our store looks so good.’”
The original space was splashed with neon greens and pinks. Designers retained the pink palette, but opted for lighter, more inviting shades. They changed the store's logo font to represent a business rather than "a bake sale," as Valastro called it. To entice customers, designers created confection window displays and moved the baking ovens to the storefront, so smells would waft into the mall. Bakery Boss designers also added giant cupcakes outside the store to catch the attention of passersby.
Valastro renewed Gravitt’s creative drive by teaching her several tricks of the trade. Venture into Kristi G’s today and you’ll find chocolate-covered strawberries, candied apples, cheesecake, brownies and pecan pie in addition new cupcake flavors like gingerbread eggnog and peppermint mocha. Gravitt said she now feels more professional and ready for success.
“It makes me feel so proud. Every day when I walk in I can’t believe this is my store,” Gravitt said, on the verge of tears. “It’s overwhelming.”