Interested in a slice of Frosted Carrot Cake or a bite of a Triple Chocolate Brownie? Head over to Needham Street in Newton, Massachusetts and grab delicious baked goods from Clarke’s Cakes and Cookies hosted by Project Pop-Up. Despite the unpredictability of operating a small, pop-up based business reliant on foot traffic and taste-tests in a global pandemic, Clarke’s Cakes and Cookies Founder and Head Baker Karen Clarke sure knows how to embrace life’s sweeter moments!
I’m probably preaching to the choir when I say that seeing small businesses collaborate and support each other is one of my favorite things about our local community. That feeling gets even better when the collaboration creates more opportunities for people to eat vegan food. This is exactly what happened when The Bagel Table approached Clarke’s Cakes and Cookies at one of the Natick Farmer’s Markets and asked to sell Karen’s vegan desserts in their bagel shop.Thanks to this relationship, Karen connected with UpNext, an organization that facilitates matchmaking and creative collaborations between brands and spaces, and learned about Project Pop-Up.
Thanks to Project: Pop-Up,Clarke’s Cakes and Cookies gets a taste of a brick & mortar spot for the entire month of September and and Newton gets a taste of an awesome bakery where everything is 100% vegan. Karen has been well received in the first two weeks in the space alongside established local names like The Bagel Table and Union Square Donuts. According to Karen, who is grateful to have been received well by her neighbors and customers, “people have been waiting to have something in this location and to find that there’s a bagel shop and a vegan bakery under one roof is an eye-opener”. Clarke’s customers are asking them to extend beyond their current hours of 10AM-4PM Tuesday through Saturday. Karen is hoping to oblige and begin to expand her menu by adding new items like Salted Caramel Frosted Chocolate Cake and Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin cookies alongside best-sellers Blueberry Lemon Teacake and Better Banana Bread, which happens to be her personal favorite.
Of course, Karen is making the most out of this pop-up opportunity (popportunity 👀) while continuing to make big plans for the future. She hopes to keep collaborating with other small businesses to bring Clarke’s Cakes and Cookies to more local restaurants. Be sure to visit Project Pop-Up before the end of this month and live your best local vegan life!