It was a sad day for Pittsburgh as Dozen Bake Shop hosted their final bake sale this morning in Lawrenceville. The bakery that was once voted having the “Best Cupcakes” by our readers has closed their doors for good.
Whether you voted for them in that poll or not, it cannot be denied that Dozen was a great asset to Pittsburgh. They brought the cupcake trend to the Burgh, but more importantly, they expanded beyond cupcakes and explored ways to run a locally-sustainable business that conscious foodies could enjoy. They came up with fresh new menus, sourced local/organic/animal-free ingredients, and even opened on Mondays! Before Dozen came to town it was impossible to get a cupcake on a Monday. What will Pittsburgh do without their vegan sweets and Elvis cupcakes?
The closure was a big surprise to Boring Pittsburgh and we had to find out why they made the decision to shut their ovens off. First let’s look at a timeline of some random events leading up to this day:
Timeline of one dozen events
- December 29, 2006 – Dozen’s grand opening in Pittsburgh, eventually up to 5 locations
- Summer 2010 – Dozen closed the Squirrel Hill, Southside, Downtown locations
- March 30, 2010 – Dozen bought 9 chickens
- August 12, 2010 – Dozen opened on South Craig Street in Oakland
- May 26, 2011 – Dozen unveiled the Cupcake Mobile truck
- June 22, 2011 – Posted on their wall that they were possibly hiring a new baker
- June 28, 2011 – Announced on Twitter that they hired a new baker
- June 28, 2011 – Announced that they were looking to hire a part-time counter person
- July 3-6, 2011 – Dozen closed their stores for Fourth of July vacation
- July 7, 2011 – They were supposed to reopen, but didn’t due to a broken air conditioner
- July 8, 2011 – Dozen Bake Shop Farewell Bake Sale! event was posted
- July 9, 2011 – Dozen had their final day of business at the Lawrenceville location
So why are they closing?
That’s the big question everyone is asking. The Pittsburgh Business Times posted an entry yesterday that said the business is up for sale due to a decline in sales over the past couple of months “in a really bizarre, unrealistic kind of plummet.” Like most people, we don’t know what comes next in the story because that site forces you to sign-up if you want to read the rest of the article. Boring!
Boring Pittsburgh was fortunate to have a quick word with James Gray on the bakery’s last day of business.
We worked very hard day and night for 4 and half years. In the end, it is a tough business and can really wear a person down. I’m exhausted. I’m also ready for something new and different. Moving back to Chicago is something I’ve wanted for a while. I miss the city life. I miss the food scene in Chicago. It’s challenging and alive with so many different opportunities for a chef to learn and grow. As I’m almost 40 years old, I also feel like I need to be close to my family and in a place that excites me everyday. Pittsburgh is low key. Which is great if you like that. But I’m on the neurotic side and need to be stimulated all the time. -James Gray (owner)
A supportive community cupcake addicts
Boring Pittsburgh wanted to share some of the nice comments Dozen fans have posted on Facebook for James and Andrew:
Best of Luck – and thank you for all that you have done for our community. You are a hero and a champion in my eyes. I will miss your stores – and remember them fondly… Remember – dream big, wildly and often – because you can only achieve as crazy as you dream! Great things are in you and your families future – and I have complete faith in you! -Ian
Awe! Sad! Well, thanks for making great vegan cupcakes for us all this time! -Amethyst
I live over in the uk! I love seeing your posts! I’m lost for words as to why all of a sudden you would just stop this? Please please make a book of recipes or something! I don’t see stuff like yours anywhere! And have even thought about a trip to the states via your store! This dosnt make sense? What has happened? -Liah
A tremendous loss for Lawrenceville. Dozen played huge part in Lawrenceville’s resurgence. -Greg
I’m so sad. I loved Dozen and I missed even when they 1st opened and even tried doing dinners there and they always had something Vegan on the menu which always seemed to sell out by the time I got there. I’m sad to see them go ill miss the… cinnamon rolls and going there on sundays before heading off the the wildlife center. I can still taste the yummy cakes u guys had a couple years ago that were Vegan to. I wish u all the best! -Beverly
James, so sorry this has happened. You make amazing food, and you created community. -Michael
From my first Dozen treat, to the cupcakes at my wedding, to my last chewy bar today, I have always had a special place in my heart for Dozen. You will be missed and I wish you all the best of luck in future endeavors! -Haley
Devastating news! Was just planning a trip home 4 some goodies. No one will b able 2 take your place. Best cupcakes anywhere! You will be missed. -Toni
this is very very sad. Lawrenceville is losing an icon. :(((( – Lauren
I’m bummed to hear about Dozen and you leaving! Pittsburgh’ s loss is Chicago’s (re)gain! Much luck! -Nicole
Think before you buy
Pittsburgh is a city with a lot of pride. But true pride extends beyond a few words in a Twitter profile or wearing a sports jersey. If we (Pittsburghers) are truly proud and dedicated to our city, then that means we have a responsibility to support our local artists and businesses. Instead of shopping at large, out-of-town, corporate-owned stores, make an effort to spend your money at locally owned shops and restaurants. Too far away? Too expensive? Remember, love is measured by sacrifice. How much do you really love Pittsburgh?
Questions and answers
Are all of the locations closing?
When did Dozen Bake Shop officially close?
Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12pm
What about my wedding cake order?!
Dozen has made it very clear that they are working closely with Vanilla Pastry Studio and Sugar Bakery to hand over all existing wedding cake orders.