Cupcake shop in Elgin closing Christmas Eve
The Elgin location of Delish Cakes will be closing Christmas Eve, three years after it opened, but it will start holding monthly pop-sales at downtown businesses.
"I'm sad and disappointed that I am leaving downtown Elgin. I don't want to let down the community of Elgin," said owner Alicia Eisenmann, who lives in town. "But I have to do what's right for the business."
The cupcake shop at 213 E. Chicago St. opened in November 2016 and had a fine first year in business, but then foot traffic started to decline, Eisenmann said. "Custom orders were good but the day-to-day was slow," she said, adding she tried to diversify with ready-to-go cakes, sugar cookies, cake pops and pretzels.
Delish Cakes will start holding pop-ups in February at a variety of small businesses in Elgin, including Mama Lee's Gourmet Popcorn and Escapade 360, Eisenmann said. The cupcake shop will be a food vendor at events like Nightmare on Chicago Street and will have a booth at the farmers market, she said.
Eisenmann said she doesn't know exactly why foot traffic has slowed down, at least in the vicinity of her store. "It could be a downtown thing, it could be just a bakery thing," she said. "But my Bloomingdale location (the original one) is doing pretty normally in terms of sales."
Two antique shops nearby closed after Delish Cakes opened and people are increasingly shopping online, all of which might give people less reason to shop downtown and come into her store, she said.
Landlord Andrew Cuming said he believes Eisenmann devoted much of her time and energy to the Bloomingdale location. "Bloomingdale was her first location. It makes business sense to focus there, but I wish she had more time to do more in Elgin," he said. For a business to thrive in downtown Elgin, owners must be hands-on, he said, adding it's a lesson he learned when he gave a shot at opening Highland Cafe, which closed within seven months.
Cuming said he reduced Eisenmann's rent at the beginning of the year but knew it was "highly likely" she'd be leaving at the end of her lease Dec. 31. He's received interest in the space on East Chicago Street and has no doubt that downtown Elgin "is still going up," he said. "It's not facing any issues in mind."
Feedback about foot traffic downtown varies depending on the individual experience of each business, said Jennifer Fukala, executive director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin. The association is still gathering data but Small Business Saturday this past weekend seemed to be successful, she said.
"We're sorry to see them go," Fukala said about Delish Cakes. "Obviously we don't want to lose business, and we wish them well."