- The couple behind Crumbs Bake Shop said they don’t regret selling it despite its eventual failure.
- Crumbs got so big, it was acquired by a holding company for $66 million and went public in June 2011.
- The couple bought Crumbs back seven years after it went bankrupt.
When Jason and Mia Bauer sold their popular Crumbs Bake Shop in 2011, they thought they’d leave it in good hands.
But after two years, the cupcake empire began to crumble, and eventually, Crumbs announced in July 2014 that it was closing all of its stores and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
It was a sharp reversal of the New York-based cupcake shop that started in 2003 with a single store on Manhattan’s Upper West Side but went on to spawn the 2000’s trend and spread all over the world.
The chain has offered more than 75 flavors of cupcakes with unique toppings—like the Girls Scouts Thin Mints option.
Crumbs was eventually purchased by a holding company for $66 million through cash and stock. The company went public in June 2011.
But Crumbs — which produced 70 stores in 2013 — has been very aggressive in its expansion plans. The breakneck speed of growth and fierce competition from other desserts eventually led to the empire’s overthrow.
“We’ve watched from the sidelines the business struggle,” Jason told Insider.
While the couple was disappointed that the new team couldn’t take the Crumbs to a higher level, “I don’t think there was ever a moment of regret,” Mia told Insider.
Jason added, “He was still very much our baby. We had that business. We cultivated him. We were so attached to him, and it was no fun seeing him after all our hard work.”
The Bauers, who describe themselves as spiritual people, “also believe that things happen for a reason, so we just kept moving forward,” Jason said.
Powers declined to disclose the exact amount they received from the sale.
After Crumb collapsed, Jason started a real estate brokerage which he ran for three years. He then moved to WeWork, where he was the global head of space services. While he did that, Mia raised the children.
Jason said he enjoyed his stint at WeWork, but the cupcake business was always at the back of the couple’s minds.
Bauers revived the Crumbs brand by accident, and it all cost $350
Crumbs came to the fore of Jason’s mind again around 2019, when WeWork began to crumble amid intense scrutiny of its finances and leadership after its work-sharing space went public in August.
But only during a random search at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2021 found that Crumbs’ IP address had been given away. He then applied to acquire the “Original Crumbs Bakeshop” trademark in February 2021 for $350, according to a filing from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
They were lucky this time. Jason said they tried to buy the Crumbs brand from Fischer Enterprises earlier when the investment firm held the intellectual property for the brand – but they weren’t successful.
Insider was unable to independently verify previous purchase offer.
Jason said he still enjoyed his job at WeWork at the time, so he didn’t pursue the cause or plan a fundraiser to buy back the brand. “I also felt like, you know, it’s really expensive just for the IP,” he added.
But it wasn’t fate that the Bauers managed to get their hands on the brand a few years down the road.
“The opportunity is back with us, it was meant to be,” he said. Jason eventually left WeWork in 2021.
Now, Crumbs runs into Mia again.
Other than cupcakes, Crumbs has expanded its scope to include cookies.
The business is now being funded by the Bauers, as well as round funding from friends and family. It also closed one round of seed funding, Jason said. He declined to go into more details about the fundraising.
Despite their past experience, Powers never writes off selling their business again.
“Whether we’re selling it, whether we’re taking it public, whether we’re continuing to build it, we’re helping to build the brand,” Jason said of the revived brand, which the couple described as being in its “infancy.”
“It can really go in a million different directions,” Mia added.
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