BURNHAM - A mother and daughter pair, Lana and Jena Knepp, have opened the first shop in the Burnham and Lewistown area to focus almost exclusively on making cupcakes: The Little Cupcake Shoppe and Bakery, located on 101 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham, behind Mattress World.
The two run the shop exclusively, with an occasional family member being called in to help out. Both bake, and Jena decorates the cupcakes.
The Knepps opened Little Cupcake out of a desire to use their skills for something different. Lana Knepp had worked as a home-ec teacher for about three decades, in schools across Mifflin County (where she was born and raised). Jena Knepp graduated from York Technical Institute with degrees in culinary arts and hotel restaurant management, and has worked in the kitchen and the bakery at the Ramada Inn and Wegman's, respectively.
Sentinel photo by MATT LOEWEN
Jena Knepp, left, and Lana Knepp man the counter at the Little Cupcake Shoppe and Bakery in Burnham.
"It's nice to finally have my own business, doing something I like to do, where I can be creative and do my own thing," said Jena of her current work.
The shop carries 10 flavors a day, including traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla, which are sometimes injected with chocolate or white fillings. Four specialty flavors are also featured, which are switched up every day; Wednesdays, for example, present a German Chocolate flavor, and Fridays offer, among others, Coconut Delight.
Flavors are also changed according to season: in May the shop began selling its summer flavors, including Pink Velvet and Orange Creamsicle.
IF YOU GO
What: Little Cupcake Shoppe and Bakery
Where: 101 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham (behind Mattress World)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; shop may close early if stock is sold out.
Lana Knepp, in noting the difference between Little Cupcake and other businesses, pointed simply to the shop's focus.
"We provide a service," said Lana. "If people want donuts, they go to the donut shop; and if they want cupcakes, it's vice versa. (The shop's) a unique thing to Mifflin County."
The shop only rarely breaks its focus on cupcakes; one exception takes place on Saturdays, when the shop adds apple dumplings and the whoopie pie-like Mary Ann. And Lana noted that the possibility of offering other products in the future is "not out of the question."
"It's a cheerful little shop," she added. "It's a nice place to sit down and have a cup of coffee." Indeed, the two take pride in their effort to make the shop homey, with its pink walls and decorations like one that reads "'Stressed' spelled backwards is 'Desserts.'"
And, of course, there's the idea that cupcakes have enough appeal to build an entire shop around them.
There are practical reasons for the appeal, Lana said: "It's portion control. If people make a whole cake, they'll eat the whole cake. This way, if they get six cupcakes, you share them, and you eat one." And, she added, "You can have any kind of cupcake, and lots of varieties; if you're having a party, everyone gets to choose something they enjoy. Everyone can be happy."
The possibility of such variety is featured, finally, in the Little Shoppe's claim - according to its Facebook profile - that they "have created each cupcake to have its very own personality."
"Each flavor is unique," Lana said. "How you put them together, what you fill them with, how you top them."
The Little Cupcake Shoppe and Bakery is located at 101 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham, behind Mattress World. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The shop may close early if stock is sold out.
The Little Cupcake Shoppe and Bakery is also on Facebook. For more information, call 248-5010.