Cuppycakes owner makes debut in Kitsap Mall

Tara-Jeanette Primm opened her shop on June 30 with five employees and a smattering of customers waiting for her to cut the ribbon at her opening ceremony.

It’s hard to believe she used to burn water.

Now, as an owner of Kitsap’s newest cupcake shop, Tara-Jeanette Primm doesn’t have that option.

Primm, owner of Tara-Jeanette’s Cuppycakes, rotates out 102 of her favorite flavorful creations throughout the week at her new Kitsap Mall shop — each recipe is carefully handcrafted by her. Daily, she offers seven to nine different flavors in her two glass display cases.

“I could always pipe,” said Primm, who took Wilton cake classes while pregnant with her first son. “I was learning how not to burn things.”

Primm opened her shop on June 30 with five employees and a smattering of customers waiting for her to cut the ribbon at her opening ceremony. The owner admitted to being a bit teary-eyed due to lack of sleep and emotions running high since her husband deployed a bit earlier than expected.

He was the one who had encouraged her to open the shop after seeing her success of freelance baking.

“This was his dream,” she said, wiping a tear from her eye. “I was just so overwhelmed with joy. Our sales were off the charts.”

On her first day, she made 540 cupcakes. By closing, there were less than a dozen left in the display case.

“It’s just delicious stuff,” said customer Glenn Stivers, who is a fan of Soggy Bottom Boys, an apple-cinnamon concoction.

Kristen Lynne Hall remembers her first time biting into a Soggy Bottom Boy like it was yesterday. She met Primm as a fellow vendor at the Just Between Friends sale in Bremerton earlier this year.

“It was amazing,” Hall recalled of trying her first cupcake. “I brought some home to my husband and he was just as impressed as I was. The quality is top-notch with amazing ingredients and moist cupcakes.”

Most recently, Hall purchased a dozen cupcakes to bring home. Since she couldn’t eat them all in one sitting, she kept them in a container on the counter for a week. Days after her purchase, the cupcakes were still fresh and delicious. That’s when Hall knew she had a go-to place for dessert.

“I took an instant liking to both her and her business,” said Hall. “She is such a go-getter, and she has amazing cupcakes to back her up.”

Although Primm does sell baked goods, including cookies, she doesn’t have a kitchen to call her own. She’s used to it as she rented commercial kitchen space to bake cakes prior to opening her shop.

To bake, Primm goes just across the way to Hale’s Alehouse to work in the kitchen. Then she heads back to the shop to decorate her goodies. It only takes about an hour to make six to eight dozen cupcakes.

“The longest part is waiting for the cupcakes to cool,” she said.

The shop is hard to miss. With its pink and purple walls, and a cupcake logo sporting big eyelashes — Primm’s own makeup signature look — it is difficult to walk past and not get a whiff of sugary goodness.

“I want people to see the environment and get sucked into it,” she said.

And if that doesn’t do it, the flavor names might just make a curious onlooker a quick consumer.

Primm’s most adventurous cupcake is “Don’t be blue, Porky,” a blueberry cupcake soaked in blueberry juice, tiny bits of bacon and topped with maple infused buttercream with a chunk of waffle piece.

Surprisingly, it is pretty popular, Primm said.

Aside from drawing in customers with the scent of frosted goodies, Primm also knows how to attract young customers as well. With three kids of her own, she knows what it is like to not be able to enjoy going into a shop without a hassle.

She doesn’t mind when kids drool on her display cases. That’s what Windex is for, she said.

For creative kiddos, she’s added a chalkboard for doodling purposes. It’s something she wishes more shops had for kids, and she’s happy to set an example, she said.

“Life gets crazy and why not have the kids go crazy on my chalkboard instead on your house,” she said.

At select times, she also has story time free to all ages. For $5, kids can get two mini juice boxes and two mini cupcakes to occupy them as they listen to a children’s story.

It’s Primm’s enthusiasm and joy that lights up her shop. She doesn’t mind getting a little sticky if it means she’s got a good cupcake batch on her hands. Her mantra, “a balanced diet is a cuppycake in each hand” is what keeps her busy in the kitchen creating new flavors.

“If I’m not covered in powdered sugar by the end of the day, I’m doing something wrong,” she said.