After years of delicious service the cupcake shop of Hello Cupcake has closed its doors.
Hello Cupcake has been a fixture on Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue for 15 years, and in their time, have served thousands of customers. Sunday, however, was the day their last cupcake was sold and their doors closed for the last time.
It was on Jan. 4 that a message from the owner was posted across their social media handles and their website. Within the message, the owner cites that while the decision came across as sudden, it had been building up for some time.
“As sudden as this may seem, it’s a decision I’ve been forced to come to terms with after two long years of attempting to weather the storm of unpredictable circumstances, economic hardship, rising ingredient costs, and myriad other challenges Hello Cupcake has faced,” the owner wrote within the announcement.
The full message can be found @hellocupcaketacoma on their Facebook page or on their official website of www.hello-cupcake.com. Since the announcement, there has been no word if Hello Cupcake has planned to open at another location or remain permanently closed. They also aren’t the only business to have faced these challenges.
Over the years Pacific Avenue has seen a number of businesses close. Ledger editor and manager Josie Trueblood has written of businesses such as The Mad Hat Tea Company and UrbanXchange that have faced closure in her article, “Loss of vital businesses on Pacific Avenue may explain enrollment numbers.” Destiny Valencia, a Ledger news writer, has also covered even the recent closing of the University Bookstore here on campus in her article, “The University Bookstore set to close its doors.”
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on numerous businesses across the state, especially businesses that rely on foot traffic like those on Pacific Avenue. However, a lack of customers hasn’t been businesses’ only problem.
Early 2022 was when The Mad Hat Tea Company closed its doors and had a change of location. A comment on a Facebook post of theirs in March cited that they had survived COVID, but not “greedy landlords.” Hello Cupcake, while citing various factors that led to their closing, was, assumedly, facing changing rent costs of their own.
While sales and traffic have decreased, many small businesses have only begun closing in the last year. A possible factor of this is the rescission of the COVID-19 pandemic eviction moratorium. This disallowed landlords in Washington state to raise rent prices, which included small businesses under 50 employees. The rent increase restriction was lifted in June 2021.
A Tacoma Office Rent Price & Sales Report from CommercialCafe of 2021 showed a steady increase in leasing and rental fees per square foot for offices within Tacoma. The report also shows an average asking rent of $28.09 rent per square foot. The report mentions that Tacoma office space in 2021 marked a +21.20% change compared to 2020. Prices have been assumed to have only increased as America’s economic struggles remain.Hello Cupcake is yet another casualty of the changing landscape of the historic Pacific Avenue, and while stores like Tinkertopia and Stocklist remain, it seems as if high rent costs won’t be leaving anytime soon.