Mo’s Sweet Minis is a family-owned bakery located at 902 W. Broad St. in Richmond, Va. Upon walking into the bakery, the sweet smell of freshly baked cupcakes and cookies linger in the air. The walls are decorated in bright pastel colors. Photos and paintings by local artists are neatly arranged around the shop. The speaker by the display case of daily specials plays sweet melodies, setting a relaxing atmosphere. Just above the display case rests a chalkboard filled with cupcake flavors: strawberry shortcake, mint chocolate cream and cinnamon apple streusel, to name a few. Ashlee Robinson, the owner of Mo’s Sweet Minis, says the most popular flavors are the Red Velvet and Berry Strawberry.
Before opening a bakery, Robinson used to bake pastries from her home and sell them to her friends and family.
“I have always cooked and baking was something I got into to escape cooking. I find baking rewarding and my products have gotten great reviews,” Robinson said. She would continue to do this for three years before obtaining her pastry chef certification from the University of Richmond and opening her own business in October 2012. It is her first business but she is hoping to expand and open more pastries shops in the future. Though the bakery is still fairly new, it has been met with great reception from the community.
Craig Stewart, a Richmond resident and customer, says he has visited the shop about six times.
“I love the cheap mini-cupcake option,” Stewart said. “The mini cupcakes are the perfect snack.”
Mo’s Minis offers mini cupcakes for $1 each and full-sized cupcakes for $2.70. The bakery offers close to 60 different cupcake flavors, with at least 12 different flavors available daily. Customers have the option to request their favorite flavors in advance.
Shormey Adumuah, a Virginia Commonwealth University student, was first inclined to enter the shop after passing it on her way to class. She read the menu of flavors and was attracted by the cheap prices. Adumuah’s favorite cupcake flavors are the Tres Leches and German chocolate.
“Whenever I go into Mo’s Minis, I always get one of those two flavors in addition to something new. I want to try all of the flavors,” Adumuah said.
Due to customer requests, customers are able to order pastries online and by phone, for orders that cost at least $15. Mo’s Minis delivers to the VCU community, including downtown Richmond, Jackson Ward, Carytown and the Fan.
Victoria Cox was excited when she learned of the option to have cupcakes delivered to her. Cox is an employee at the Child Care Center, located on VCU’s medical campus.
“Me and my coworkers often use the delivery service to order cupcakes while at work,” Cox said. “Everyone is always happy whenever I order a box or two [of cupcakes].”
Cox says she was originally skeptical to order cupcakes, but was pleased to find her cupcakes were delivered quickly and were very fresh.
While the overall reception of Mo’s Sweet Minis is positive, there are still some who are not completely satisfied.
“I have been a few times, but each time I was disappointed,” said Madison Baya, a VCU student.
Baya ordered a small selection of cupcakes and says each cupcake had the same problem: there wasn’t enough frosting.
“The frosting needs to up its game,” Baya said.
In addition to an array of cupcake flavors, Mo’s Minis offers 17 different cookie flavors, all of which are available daily. The cookies are 45 cents each and $4.95 per dozen.
Abby Welch loves going to Mo’s Minis because of the large cookie selection. Welch says she enjoys eating the cookies so much that she once bought 15 and ate them all within a two-hour timespan.
“Every time I pass by Mo’s Minis I always want to go inside,” Welch said.
Welch references being a college student as a reason why she doesn’t visit the shop as often as she wishes.
“Unfortunately, I can’t eat Mo’s Minis’ cookies every day,” Welch said.
Robinson sees that her business is making steady progress and is attracting more customers as the time goes by. She says that customers often complain about not having enough parking spots. Robinson hopes that her business will become successful enough to grow and eventually acquire better parking. Another feature Robinson hopes to add in the future is the ability to ship her products.
“I just don’t have the resources right now,” Robinson said.
For the moment, Robinson is happy with her growth as a business owner and looks forward to the expansion of her store