THE HUB: Sweet-natured sweethearts

Joseph Emmons and Hannah Lenehan opened Superb Cupcakes in Taft Corners Shopping Center on Jan. 6. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)
Joseph Emmons and Hannah Lenehan opened Superb Cupcakes in Taft Corners Shopping Center on Jan. 6. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

Joseph Emmons and Hannah Lenehan open Superb Cupcakes

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

The first time you step inside Joseph Emmons and Hannah Lenehan’s Williston shop, the keenest sensation you’re likely to experience won’t be the sight of its soothing pastel-colored walls or the familiar kitchen sounds of pots and pans rattling. It will be the instantly recognizable baking smells of fluffy cake batter and creamy frosting that will make you involuntarily salivate in anticipation of the pleasures of the taste buds that are gourmet cupcakes.

“Everything we do is homemade,” Lenehan said. “It’s 100 percent from scratch with as many Vermont products as possible. We use all Cabot butters and King Arthur Flour and local eggs.”

Emmons and Lenehan, co-owners of Superb Cupcakes in Taft Corners Shopping Center, are boyfriend and girlfriend. They previously ran a wholesale and delivery-based cupcake business out of their South Burlington home while also holding down medical coding and records jobs at Fletcher Allen Health Care. They officially opened Superb Cupcakes on Jan. 6.

“Wholesale is a different beast from opening your own store,” Lenehan said. “Wholesale, you get half. So in order to produce enough to make a living for two people wholesale, you have to quadruple the business.”

Emmons voiced his agreement, in between spooning cupcake batter into baking pans.

“You get to a point where you just can’t grow anymore doing the same thing, and that’s where we were at,” he said.

Emmons and Lenehan were joined in the conversation by Lenehan’s mother, Edie Worcester, who is helping out in the kitchen during the first few weeks of the Williston launch of Superb Cupcakes.

“I thought it was so smart they started doing it out of the house,” Worcester said. “I do cakes, and I can decorate them and the whole bit, but this cupcake thing, I think what’s cool is that they’re very individual. Let’s say you’ve got people coming for a birthday party and you decide you’re going to do cupcakes. You can do all different kinds, whereas you do one birthday cake and not everyone likes chocolate.”

Superb Cupcakes offers a rotating stock of 30 different varieties of cupcakes, including the top-selling Salted Caramel, Vermont Maple Bliss, Chocolate Cookie Dough and Orange Cream.

“I love cake, but cupcakes are just so cute and individual,” Lenehan said. “With a cake it’s already made. Either you like it or you don’t.”

Despite living in South Burlington, Lenehan said that she and her partner chose Williston as the location for a storefront because of its proximity to major retail stores and local restaurants.

“This spot from the moment we walked in felt right,” she said. “I think it’s the area. I think everyone has a connection to either shopping, working or living in Williston. It’s just such a warm and inviting community.”