Opening in November of 2010, Jim and Mary Ohngren opened up Rockin’ Cupcakes, a fusion of Rock N’ Roll culture and delicious pastries. With an aim of satisfying both their customers and community, the Ohngrens have seen their business spread by a successful and positive word of mouth.
A sweet beginning
The beginning of Rockin’ Cupcakes started with the Ohngren’s daughter, who works for Entrepreneur magazine and lives in the Los Angeles area. She suggested the idea of opening a cupcakes store.
Even though cupcake shops are a success both on the west coast and television, they are relatively foreign to the Midwest.
The couple visited famous shops in California and gained inspiration for their business.
The Ohngrens are former Rochester residents who now live in Clarkston.
“We love the Rochester area and there are no cupcake shops out here,” Jim Ohngren said. “They’re in Birmingham and Royal Oak, but not here.”
From the record lined counters and walls, Rockin’ Cupcakes combines Jim’s love of music and Mary’s love of baking.
“The Rolling stones are probably my all-time favorite band, the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith are the bands I love the most,” Ohngren said. “I’m really a student of all Rock N’ Roll.
The Ohngrens use only high quality ingredients and serve only the most fresh cupcakes everyday.
“We bake them fresh starting at 5 a.m.,” Jim Ohngren said. “We have anywhere from 13 to 15 different varieties of flavors every day.”
Inspirations for the names of the treats come from Jim’s favorite rock songs and artists.
“Paint it Black,” inspired from the Rolling Stones song, is cupcake with chocolate buttercream and black sprinkles.
“Yellow Submarine,” based of the Beatles song, is a lemon cupcake with homemade lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream and topped with a lemon slice.
A popular favorite is the Lexington, a chocolate cupcake filled with salted caramel and frosted with chocolate salted buttercream. The Lexington is named after the Ohngren’s son’s band, which perform in Califronia.
Rockin’ Cupcakes have been a target for catering for local companies like hotels gold courses, and more, along with personal events like weddings over the year.
The Ohngrens created a giant cupcake decorated with the General Motors logo for the unveiling of a new vehicle.
Caring about the community
Being a member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce allows the Ohngrens to network their businesses to others that might not have known their location.
“It helps us get our name out into the public,” Ohngren said. “It also allows us to give back to the community.”
The Ohngrens donate their cupcakes on a daily basis to organizations like the Old Persons Commission, Rochester Community House, Grace Center of Hope, and Clarkston Senior Center.
The OPC recently gave them an award for their large donation and commended them for their dedication to service not only as a business but as a caring member of the community.
“We believe in giving back,” Ohngren said. “It’s good for the business, us personally and the community as well.”
On Tuesday night, a girl’s scout troupe led by Kelly Beaudry-Rodgers, spent the evening decorating cupcakes with the owners and employees.
“At the beginning of the school year I asked the girls what types of field trips they would like to take this year,” Beaudry-Rodgers said. “My co-leader, Lara Jensen, suggested Rockin’ Cupcakes since it’s a local business and what could be more fun for girls than just putting sprinkles on pretty cupcakes.”
Beaudry-Rodgers spoke highly of the atmosphere that the Ohngrens accommodated for the young children.
Providing a nut-free environment, because two of the girl scouts have nut allergies, to allowing the girls to use professional-grade decorating tools that the Ohngrens use themselves every day, it was an experience they loved.
“(The Ohngrens) really did a great job in keeping the girls interested and talking to them,” Beaudry-Rodgers said. “The girls did a great job decorating their cupcakes and were so proud of themselves. This was really a way of seeing them fulfill some of the girl scout leadership keys of discovering their skills and connecting with their community.”
Serving up social media
While some businesses refuse to acknowledge the benefits of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, Rockin’ Cupcakes sees the benefits of taking the time to build an online presence.
Rockin’ Cupcakes uses their Facebook page to promote new cupcake recipes and to communicate with both fans of the company, and potential customers and clients.
“Social media is huge now,” Ohngren said. “Quite honestly Facebook is not just for young people anymore. A lot of our target customers, like the mother with two kids, are on it and use it.”
Ohngren also said they use their Facebook webpage to connect and promote other businesses that they have close contact with.
Rockin’ Cupcakes is also rated five stars on Yelp, a social media site started in 2004 with a focus of rating local businesses in cities around the United States.
The frosted future
Going into the coming new year, the Ohngrens hope to expand to selling their products in retail locations.
“We have a few tricks up our sleeves for the next year,” Ohngren said. “We’re really excited.”
Even though Ohngren says the future is wide open for Rockin’ Cupcakes, it will most certainly be sweet.
For more information on their products and history, visit www.rockincupcakesrochester.com.
Rockin’ Cupcakes is located on the corner of Tienken and Rochester roads in the Papa Joe’s plaza.
The store is open on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here is my video project I did for my Reporting with the Internet course at Oakland University. It is an interview with Matt Pocket, sports director at WXOU and the voice of the Golden Grizzlies basketballs teams for the university.
Yahoo! Sports’ investigated a report on University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro’s involvement of giving out thousands of benefits to around 72 student athletes between 2002 through 2010.
The report showed that Shapiro estimates benefits totaled in the millions of dollars were given out during his time with the Hurricane athletic department along with prostitutes, paid trips, jewelry, bounties for on-field performance and on one occasion, an abortion, were some of the services provided by the booster.
This incident brings up another issue in the already controversial sport of college athletics: should student athletes get paid outside of their NCAA approved benefits?
In my opinion, to put it quite simply: no.
Even though I have not participated in any athletics here at Oakland University, I’m well aware of the cost of an education without a scholarship.
With the rising cost of tuition, it seems that we forget that a scholarship no matter where you go, is a gift, especially one that not everyone, student-athletes included, have the luxury of receiving.
The fact that many in the media are downplaying what an education from a major university means in the long run, considering that not every athlete goes pro, is ridiculous.
According to the NCAA, less than 2 percent of college football players, and 1.2 percent of men’s basketball players go professional.
There are some possible problems with considering the possibility of a pay-to-play policy.
There would be equal pay across the board. Every student athlete, no matter what the sport, would have to receive equal compensation. That means the starting senior quarterback would get the same as the back-up kicker.
Title IX would clash with pay-to-play. With Title IX, universities has to provide equal number of scholarships in both men and women sports. If pay-to-play were enacted, many universities would have run into conflicts with these non-revenue producing sports. Cutting certain sports would surely follow.
Pay-to-play affects mid-majors in a significant way by shifting the competitive balance.. The advantage of major universities offering extra benefits would create a rift in recruiting in many programs because of the lopsided revenue between the big and small universities. According to NCAA financial reports, University of Texas receives $3,273,727 in contributions to their men’s basketball program, while Oakland’s men’s basketball program receives $39,764.
Almost all universities in the state of Michigan are raising tuition due to reduced state funding. The perception of extra money for athletes would create conflict with the student body, faculty, and various academic departments,.
There are many more issues that could arise, but is an extra couple thousand dollars worth it?
Revision of NCAA policies are needed, don’t get me wrong. The current NCAA rules are outdated because times are much different, but pay-to-play should be the last change discussed
If you start paying student athlete benefits, the honor in representing an institution or for the love of the game is meaningless and college athletics become just another minor league, more so than they already are.
I remember a time when I was younger and I watched college football in amazement.
Mesmerized by the passion and sense of unity that came with rooting for a school, specifically The University of Michigan, for as far back as I can remember.
My hatred for the team south of us, The Ohio State University, is rooted deep in my childhood and I cannot explain truly why.
Watching the Wolverines take on the Buckeyes with my family on my mother’s side at my uncle’s house on late November afternoons are memories that are embedded in my brain.
As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser), the clean view of what I believed to be innocent sports has become messier.
I’d be lying if I said that the recent allegations involving OSU did not make me laugh, but they speak to a greater issue that is affecting everything on the college gridiron to the hardwood: money rules all.
Whether we want to admit it, NCAA violations occur at every major university in the nation, regardless if they get caught or get away with it.
Becoming an elite athletic program now takes getting your hands dirty.
This is obvious by looking at some of the most recent elite universities:
Auburn — facing questions regarding the recruitment of quarterback Cam Newton.
Oregon — The university paid $25,000 to a scouting agent that helped in the signing of WR Lache Seastrunk.
USC — The NCAA hammered the school with sanctions, including the loss of their 2004 NCAA Football Championship, for infractions regarding running back Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J Mayo.
Tennessee — under investigation for NCAA recruiting violations in both the football and men’s basketball program
With million dollar television deals, state-of-the-art stadiums, and boosters galore, every school is expected to perform and this can only be achieved by getting five-star talent at every position, any way possible.
Major conference college football is the big money maker; profits are at an all-time high.
CNNMoney reports, “The richest college football programs got richer in 2010, pocketing more than $1 billion in profits for the first time.”
Not all schools are profiting though. During the 2009-10 school year, Wake Forest reported a loss in profits.
Regardless of the numbers, something needs to change.
The NCAA needs to start laying down stricter sanctions or something further down the legal road as the culture and, more importantly, the future of college sports are at stake.
The spark that got me into college sports at a young age is at risk of being tarnished by the transgressions of individuals.
The passion and integrity of today’s game are slowly dropping as the money begins to rise.