This Is the Way the Cupcake Crumbled

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Crumbs Bake Shop is no more. Famous for swollen cupcakes piled with icing and sugary toppings, the chain closed all 48 of their stores at once yesterday — and did not give their employees any inkling of what was going on. 

Though Crumbs was the world's largest cupcake chain, with brick and mortar shops in 10 states, their sales dwindled the last several years. They began closing some stores in 2012, but still weren't turning the profit necessary to survive. On July 1st, The Nasdaq Stock Market dropped Crumbs. Nasdaq requires companies to have $2.5 million in shareholder equity, and they no longer qualified.  

Crumbs offered this explanation, or rather, lack thereof, to the Wall Street Journal, “Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its devoted employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options."

The Wire went to several Manhattan Crumbs locations to check out the wreckage.

Outside the Union Square location, one employee wandered a bit aimlessly, waiting to meet a friend and former coworker. They declined to give their names (this particular Crumbs was overrun with press) but did confirm that they had absolutely no notice of the closing. The employee was especially shocked, as the store was looking to hire new cashiers and baristas. They were also able to confirm the New York Daily News report that district managers were refusing to take calls from store employees. They told The Wire, "You probably know more than me. I don't even know what I do with my Crumbs gear," referring to their employee uniform. 

A look inside the stores was eerie. The Crumbs Gluten Free bake shop on 8th Street in New York, which just recently opened, still had promotional signage in the windows and a trash that was not taken out. The Union Square location even had their beverage display up. They had plastered a white piece of printer paper over where their store hours used to be, but neglected to take down the "hiring" sign.

As for paychecks, no one seems all too certain if employees will get paid this Friday. A distraught employee told the Daily News, "We're supposed to get paid this Friday and I don't even know if that will happen." Crumbs has not made any comments on the matter. 


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.