History alum creates career out of cupcakes and coffee

What does your job smell like?

For Macklin Farquhar ’03, it often smells like s’mores, toffee, chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla. As the owner of a cupcake shop, the aroma of freshly baked treats fills the air around him six days a week.

Cupcake shops are the latest craze across the nation due to the growing popularity of trendy television shows such as “DC Cupcakes” and “Cupcake Wars.” Why did Farquhar, who has a B.A. in history from Gettysburg College and no baking experience, decide to get involved in the mix? “I have a background in the restaurant business, and when my brother emailed me with the idea of opening a cupcake shop I initially shot it down,” said Farquhar. “He persisted, so I did some research, met with a few people, and decided to give it a try.”

Farquhar opened up Macklin’s Cupcakes & Coffee in a newly renovated area next to a movie theater in York, Pa. “Customers come in at all times of the day,” he said. “Some have a cupcake with their morning coffee, others enjoy an after-lunch or after-school snack, and we tend to see families come in after dinner for a special dessert.” His prime location next to a popular theater also makes the shop a perfect place for a pre or post-movie date, because they’re open early and close late. Typically open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Farquhar makes it easy for customers of all ages to enjoy sweet treats and locally roasted coffee at almost any time of day. “We hold community events, and have local musicians perform on the weekends,” he said. “The shop has a coffee-house feel to it, and has really become a part of the community.”

The Farquhar'sFarquhar’s background in the restaurant business certainly helps him at work, but there’s another experience that’s played a major role in his life and the success of his business. “I studied history and learned about trends while a student at Gettysburg College,” he said. “This knowledge continues to help me with future planning for my business. I was also a tour guide for the admissions office, which taught me how to talk to people and be customer service oriented.” He also met Rebecca (Malinowski) Farquhar ’04 while a student at Gettysburg, and married her in 2005. Even though she works as a physicians assistant, “she’s still a big part of our team and helps out whenever needed,” he said.

The shop also offers more than the ordinary vanilla or chocolate-flavored cupcake. “My favorite is s’mores,” said Farquhar. “It’s a milk chocolate cupcake, marshmallow frosting, crumbled graham crackers sprinkled on top, and chocolate sauce.” Other popular, yet uncommon, cupcake flavors include orange creamsicle, mint chocolate chip, and banana. The shop’s head baker comes up with the recipes, adding new flavors from time to time while maintaining a consistency that the customers appreciate. The shop also offers more than cupcakes to its customers. Cookies, scones, muffins, parfait, and smoothies are just a few of the additional items served. Customers can also request custom cupcake orders for birthday parties, weddings, and other special events.

S'mores cupcakeWhile Farquhar never thought he would build a career out of selling cupcakes and coffee, he likes where his business is going and has many plans for its future. “I want to expand and own multiple shops one day,” he said. “I’d also like to evolve from a cupcake shop into a coffeehouse known for its fresh, delicious baked goods.” He’s inspired to stay in the business because he values belonging to something bigger than himself and appreciates the opportunity to support a unique leadership style. "I believe in a team effort,” said Farquhar, “and I practice servant leadership to help my team recognize that together our company is bigger than any one individual. While I lead the team, we can rely on each team member to lead us in their area of expertise.”

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Tracey Dukert, assistant director of news content, 717.337.6521

Posted: Fri, 17 Feb 2012

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