Bella Bella Cupcakes, originally from Silverdale, opened a Gig Harbor location last week.
“I thought it would be great to have a satellite location,” said Donna Wharton, owner of Bella Bella Cupcakes.
Wharton started the business with a friend in 2009 after she was laid off from the state ferry system. She immediately thought about how she often would bring home cupcakes from a Seattle bakery after work, but she didn’t know how she would get them when she wasn’t working.
Her friend told her that they would bake the cupcakes.
“It hit the ground running,” Wharton said.
They first opened as a mobile company, baked out of a commercial kitchen and traveled to different events. They attended and marketed their product at farmers markets, including the one in Gig Harbor for the past two years, Wharton said.
As it grew, they opened their first location in Silverdale. However, Wharton said they still covered events and made deliveries in Gig Harbor.
Opening a second location here seemed like a smart decision, she said.
“I didn’t expect it to take off like it did,” Wharton said. “Everything started aligning at the same time.”
Wharton has seven employees and she’s back with the state ferry system with a recent promotion. Each employee has worked at Bella Bella Cupcakes for more than a year, Wharton said.
Wharton is married and has six children. It’s a family business, she said.
“Everyone helps out,” Wharton said.
Bella Bella Cupcakes is located in the Valero gas station, located on 38th Street Northwest in Gig Harbor. She said a gas station is a big leap for cupcakes, but she added that their Silverdale store is located between two car shops.
“We’re already funky, so it makes sense,” Wharton said.
Renting the space allows Bella Bella Cupcakes to keep to its no-loans plan. Everything is done out of pocket, Wharton said.
“We keep everything affordable for us and our customers,” she said.
They share the gas station space with Rib Ticklers, a food service that will be moving in shortly, Wharton said. Bella Bella Cupcakes also has access to the drive-thru.
The cupcakes are baked daily in Silverdale and transported to Gig Harbor. They bake on-site every morning starting at 5 a.m. When it’s a heavy day, such as a holiday or the day of a wedding, the bakers will report to the kitchen as early as 3 a.m., Wharton said.
All the cupcakes are made from scratch with personal recipes.
“We’ve developed all our own recipes,” Wharton said. “A lot of secret ingredients we can’t spill.”
Bella Bella Cupcakes rotates 60 different flavors three times a year. The baking schedule can be found at bellabellacupcakes.com.
“My absolute favorite is between heavenly coconut, apple pie a la mode and Almond Joy,” Wharton said.
They are continuously trying new things, Wharton said. One time, a fill-in employee created a cupcake now named “the goof,” which is a coconut cupcake with dark chocolate ganache and marshmallow buttercream.
Prices for cupcakes are $30 per dozen, $18 per half dozen or $3 for a single. Pre-orders will receive the Silverdale price — a few dollars cheaper, Wharton said. Gig Harbor cupcakes cost a little bit more to cover transportation, she said.
The Gig Harbor location is open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Aside from making cupcakes, Bella Bella makes specialized cakes and wedding cakes. It also does a lot of birthday parties, Wharton said.
“There’s not a bad day baking,” she said.