SCHERERVILLE | Peter Manous knew his business needed something extra to stand out among the other ice cream shops in the region.
"Six months ago, my wife and I were in Seattle, Wash., where she grew up," said Manous, co-owner of Gayety's Chocolate and Ice Cream in Schererville. "Cupcakes, ice cream and chocolate were all the rage there."
Manous and his wife, co-owner Susan Severtson, spend a lot of time in Valparaiso and were familiar with the cupcakes featured at owner/designer Adam Wiltfang's Designer Desserts Bakery at 56 W. Lincolnway.
The couple approached Wiltfang with a proposal for a partnership, which launched Memorial Day weekend.
"I thought it was great," Wiltfang said. "We're thrown around the idea of opening up over that way. Fifty to 60 percent of our client base is in Lake County and we hear daily, 'Why don't you have one out there?'"
Manous hoped to have a soft launch of the product Memorial Day weekend, setting a goal of selling 100 cupcakes over three days.
"The first day we had it, we had a temporary sign up and we sold 100 in the first half hour," Manous said. "Now that the banners are up, they are coming in droves."
Wiltfang said the only other partnership the bakery has is with Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. The casino shop carries Designer Desserts cupcakes, Wiltfang designs cakes for weddings in the banquet halls and for desserts served at William B's Steakhouse.
"The partnership with Gayety's satisfied my needs for Lake County because I don't have to go through what would essentially be a start up, staffing and all the other things associated with it," Wiltfang said.
"It's great for people in Lake County," he said. "No one really jumped on the cupcake market here."
Gayety's carries about 30 varieties of Designer Desserts cupcakes and brings in new stock two to three times a week.
"Adam has been wonderful to work with and keeps us with a wide variety," Manous said. "The good thing for us is Designer Desserts in Northwest Indiana is very well known and has really established itself over the last 10 years."