Photography by Allison David

Dallas has experienced waves of gourmet dessert trends — frozen yogurt, macarons, donuts and edible cookie dough to name a few — but most fads come to an end. While the gourmet cupcake trend ended around 2014, Sprinkles Cupcakes at Preston Center still has a line out the door in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday. What gives this female-driven business its staying power? A pinch of innovation, a dash of portion control and a heap of cultural awareness. 

The Preston Center location opened in 2007, but the first Sprinkles started in 2005 by Candace Nelson, a former investment banker who went to culinary school to make custom cakes. Nelson grew up in a house where dessert was a daily indulgence so it made more sense to create something that could be enjoyed in one sitting. Creating a cupcake bakery was a risk at the time, but Nelson took that risk and is credited with kicking off the gourmet cupcake craze.

Photo by Allison David

Since then, Sprinkles has expanded into an ice cream store. Managers credit their staying power to the innovative flavors that they develop to keep up with cultural trends. They created cupcakes for the “Game of Thrones” finale and the royal wedding. Their Flamin’ Hot Cheetos cupcake went viral on the internet, even though not everyone was eager to try it.

Sprinkles is a female-driven brand. Not only is the founder a woman, but most of the employees at the Preston Center location are female.

Photo by Allison David

“We are a company focused on empowering and supporting women,” says Allison Click, vice president of marketing and sales. “It’s part of our history.”

The Sprinkles at Preston Center is different from others. It is one of the few locations with a cupcake ATM. It is also a rarity that the Sprinkles ice cream store is right next door. It’s one of the things that keeps Sprinkles a favorite of local celebrities like LeeAnn Locken, who had a tower of the store’s cupcakes at her wedding. We suspect she probably went without the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos flavor.

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