Georgetown Cupcake closed two high-profile locations in New York City and Los Angeles in the latter half of 2022, marking the first brick-and-mortar downsizing in the confectionary company’s history.
“After 10 years in New York and LA, our leases on our retail spaces there had concluded,” co-owner Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne tells Eater. “We are now serving our customers there via overnight nationwide shipping.”
Georgetown Cupcake continues to operate stores in Georgetown, Bethesda, Boston, and Atlanta, but the deletion of two locations reduces the company’s physical footprint by a third. This past Valentine’s Day marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of its namesake flagship in D.C.
The size and layout of the West Hollywood and Soho locations had limitations when it came to fulfilling national shipping orders in their respective regions, explains LaMontagne, “for which we experienced an unprecedented increase in volume during the pandemic.” The closures occurred quietly and weren’t announced to its customers via social media posts or newsletter blasts. There also appears to be no press coverage or company comment around the closures until now.
The now-shuttered New York and LA stores opened in 2012 at the peak of the confectionary company’s popularity via the reality show DC Cupcakes, which aired on TLC from 2010 to 2013.
Rachel Kramer Bussel, co-founder of blog Cupcakes Take the Cake, previously worked near the NYC store in Soho and was a regular customer.
“I think what sets them apart is their visuals,” says Bussel. “It felt bespoke and special and a little bit of a fancier treat than some of the other cupcake shops.”
But, Bussel says, trends — including cupcakes — come and go.
“New Yorkers are always looking for the next hot, fun, exciting thing,” says Bussel. “It takes a lot to have staying power, especially in a city like New York. With Soho rent and cupcakes being ubiquitous, I’m not surprised it closed there.”
NYC is also home to the original Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village, which experienced peak popularity in the mid-aughts as demand flourished for its cupcakes made famous by Sex and the City.
Lifestyle blogger Tara Settembre lived near the first Magnolia Bakery. When she moved to LA in 2006, she spent the next five years as the leader of a cupcake meetup that visited popular bakeries. “If you’re in LA, why would you want a ‘Georgetown’ cupcake when Sprinkles started in LA?” says Settembre, referring to the celebrity-endorsed company founded in Beverly Hills in 2005 as the “world’s first cupcakes-only bakery.”
Georgetown Cupcake still hopes to reboot its physical presence in LA and NYC in the future, says LaMontagne.
“We still see value in operating brick-and-mortar retail stores in NYC and LA,” she says. They’re looking for spaces suitable for both walk-ins and national orders.
In the meantime, Georgetown Cupcake is continuing to serve its NYC and LA customers via online overnight orders from its national shipping headquarters near Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
“We are looking forward to growing our brand nationally — both through brick-and-mortar stores and via overnight nationwide shipping — in the decades to come,” says LaMontagne.
The historic Georgetown location that started it all continues to draw long lines off M Street NW. That D.C. store was was temporarily shut down by D.C.’s health department for a few days last summer, but the company says it was due to an administrative error and not because of any health code violations.