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.