August 11, 2010 in Food

High-tech careers traded for goodies

Couple bake up cupcake and cookie creations after giving up fast-paced lifestyle
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Mike Levinson holds up a plate of specialties from Celebrations, a Cookie and Cupcake Boutique in front of the store, which he owns with wife Christina, at 713 W. Garland Ave. The shop makes gourmet cupcakes and cookies and will have its grand opening during the Garland Street Fair Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

Celebrations: A Cookie and Cupcake Boutique

713 W. Garland Ave., (509) 327-3471

If Mike and Christina Levinson were looking for a career that can whip up smiles faster than buttercream frosting, they’ve found it.

The Spokane couple gave up careers working for high-tech companies to bake away their days with gourmet cupcakes and homemade cookies dipped in premium chocolates.

Mike Levinson says they tired of the travel time and fast pace.

“My wife and I are both foodies and have been foodies for a long time,” he says. “Baking is something that just came very naturally.”

They purchased the business, formerly called Celebrations, A Specialty Cake and Cookie Company, from Vicki Trefry last month. Trefry ran her wholesale business in the space at 713 W. Garland Ave. until severe arthritis made it difficult for her to continue decorating cakes.

The Levinsons are spiffing up the store for retail sales, painting the space in alternating stripes of pink and chocolate.

They stock the display case with four or five flavors of cupcakes each day, along with a few gourmet flavors. Vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting make a regular appearance.

Some of the gourmet flavors have included banana split, Oreo, chocolate peanut butter with chocolate peanut butter ganache, caramel and sea salt, maple and bacon, root beer float, almond joy (chocolate cupcakes with vanilla and almond buttercream frosting) and orange creamsicle (orange cakes filled with vanilla cream and topped with orange buttercream).

“We really want customers to bring their creative freedom to us,” Levinson says. “Where we really get excited is when people come to us for something that is out of the ordinary. Our minds run wild with ideas.”

The cupcakes are sold in four sizes: mini, regular, jumbo and an extra-large, nearly cake-size. The minis are sold by the dozen for $7.50. Regular cupcakes in classic flavors are $1.50 each. Gourmet flavors are $2.25.

Customers are limited to a dozen cupcakes without an advance order, so the case isn’t quickly wiped out. The Levinsons need 72 hours for special orders and have a minimum order of a dozen.

The self-taught bakers also make 13 different varieties of cookies each day that are drizzled and dipped in premium chocolates. Try snickerdoodles partially dipped in white chocolate, ginger cookies dipped in white chocolate, sugar cookies dipped in chocolate, and white chocolate macadamia nut drizzled with both.

They’ll celebrate their grand opening during the Garland Street Fair on Saturday with lots of samples and other fun events. Cookie Monster will make an appearance, and there will be a cupcake-eating contest for children ages 10 to 12.

Celebrations is located near the corner of Wall and Garland. It is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reach the store at (509) 327-3471.

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