What does it take for a boutique bakery to be successful in today’s market? A great tasting cupcake is number one, but SuZanne Rogers, owner of Gigi’s Cupcakes in Village Pointe would add that helping the community and helping her own employees are just as important. And after being in business for three years, she is grateful every day for being a part of such a supportive community.
She partnered with Gigi’s out of Nashville, TN to bring a store to Omaha because she wanted to add value to the community from a business perspective. It matched her love for baking and emphasis on quality desserts. What began with cupcakes and cheesecakes has now expanded into mini cupcakes, wedding cakes, 17 flavors of cheesecake, frosted sugar cookies, muffins, breads, and seasonal pie. They also have a large selection of gluten-free flavors and some vegan flavors.
“Being able to bake everything fresh and customize it for our customers is so important to us,” Rogers said. Gigi’s is committed to making its fun, fresh treats available to everyone in the community. They have partnered with organization such as Children’s Hospital, Children’s Museum, the Elkhorn Public Schools Foundation, and the First Responder Group in Omaha. They also have a program creating cupcakes the Girl Scouts can sell and then donate a portion of the proceeds to another organization.
Gigi’s also participates in a reading program with local schools. Teachers assign kids a number of hours or books to read and when completed, they are given a certificate good for a free cupcake. “When they come in we make it a celebration and talk with the student about how important reading is,” Rogers said. They’ve already given away 1,000 reading certificates this year.
Donations are another big aspect to their community involvement, receiving up to five requests daily, all of which they honor. Whether it’s to support an organization or an individual suffering from illness or injury, Rogers said they will provide a gift certificate or cupcakes that can be included in a drawing at an event. “We want to help everyone who comes in, so we’ve created a way to do that, and it’s a part of our business I’d like to focus on and continue to expand,” she said.
Giving back to the community is important to the entire Rogers family. SuZanne’s husband, Grant, and their two sons, Jack (17) and Sam (15) all spend time in the store and volunteering. “The ideas for ways we can be involved have come from years and years of being part of the community,” she said. “We know where we can help in a meaningful way, and our guests and employees often give us great ideas as well.”
In fact, its employees are vital to the success of every aspect of the business. Rogers said she has tried to create an environment where their employees can work independently, learn about business, and become better business people themselves. “Our goal isn’t to just have an employee come in, do their job, and leave,” she said. “We want them to grow as people and get them involved in the community with fundraising and volunteering as well.”
Thanks to Rogers’ business prowess and desire to put others first, Gigi’s is thriving. “There’s a serious nature to making sure the cupcake business is successful and that we continue to earn our guests’ trust,” she said. “But it’s a happy, fun business where people come in to enjoy a cup of coffee and a treat or to order items for an important event. That was my dream from the beginning, and being successful in that way is what makes me happy at the end of the day.”