Sweet beginnings: Cupcake shop opens in north Macon

Stephanie Gober starts her day bright and early. By 7:30 a.m., she and her small team of bakers are turning out tasty creations at Hello There Cupcake on Forsyth Road. The shop opened in early November and has been supplying customers with cupcakes including Butter Pecan, Red Velvet, “Funky Monkey” and “Lemon Love.”

Gober and her business partner, Delaney Holliman, started discussing the idea of an upscale “cupcakery” in Macon more than a year ago. Despite the slowing economy, both entrepreneurs felt the business would do well. “I follow a lot of blogs online and just really noticed the cupcake trend picking up. I thought that’d be a great opportunity in Macon,” said Gober. “A cupcake is an affordable luxury. For $2.50, you can get a nice cupcake, a little tasty treat.”

Both Gober and Holliman were wedding photographers before they became bakers. Gober, who is in charge of creating the cupcake flavors, said she has always loved baking and even made wedding and birthday cakes for family and friends. However, she admits she was nervous about making her baking hobby a business. “You never know how something is going to be received,” she said. “I thought it would either go really, really well or it would flop.”

That’s why she and Holliman did plenty of research. “We traveled to Houston, Chicago and New York. We went to cupcake bakeries all over the place, not only that, but little boutique stores. We wanted a real boutique feel,” she said.

Laura Wilson of Macon said she was anxiously awaiting the opening of Hello There Cupcake. “Macon is in need of a cute bakery like this that isn’t so upscale that it’s intimidating,” she said. “I loved the smart and inexpensive decorations. They used cupcake baking cups to create a pastel mural on the wall that I thought was so neat. They managed to make the decor girly, clean and modern at the same time.”

Even more important than the decor were the delicacies. Gober researched recipes and flavors for months before perfecting them. Hello There Cupcake bakes each of their cupcakes from scratch every day. “We grate carrots. We squeeze lemons. We melt chocolate. We do everything, every day,” said Gober. They offer five standard flavors and switch around fun, seasonal ones for the others. In December, they added the “Grasshopper,” a mint chocolate cupcake with Andes Mints butter cream frosting. For the holidays, a gingerbread cupcake was available. Gober says they’re currently working on a caramel flavored one. “We announce everything on our Facebook page, which is really cool. So if people want to know what we have or what’s coming up, they can always check that out,” she said. Hello There Cupcake is open Monday through Saturday from p.m.

Heather Hartel drove from Warner Robins to pick up cupcakes for a dinner she was attending. “Personally, I love cupcakes,” she said. “I think it is always nice to have a unique place to try.”

Wilson agrees. “You can buy a cupcake and sit in their adorable little shop that smells amazing. ... I intend to visit again. There are lots of other flavors to get through.”

But it doesn’t stop with the shop. Hello There Cupcake is also in the process of designing lines of cupcakes specifically for weddings, birthdays and baby showers.

Gober also hopes to expand and add stores in Warner Robins and Savannah. She’d eventually like to see their store become a nationwide chain down the road.

For now, they’re focusing on sweet success in Macon.

“I want to do one thing and I want to do it well,” said Gober.