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VOL. 37 | NO. 4 | Friday, January 25, 2013

Cupcake Collection takes challenge to streets

By Brad Schmitt

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Mignon Francois created and owns The Cupcake Collection in Nashville's Germantown area.

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She’s an incredibly sweet woman (pun intended), but The Cupcake Collection founder Mignon Francois is also a fighter.

After all, Francois – who says she had no natural baking abilities – founded her Germantown bakery to save her family from financial hardships.

So when a local newspaper suggested a year ago that one of Nashville’s cupcake operations go mobile, Francois knew she had to be the first.

“When they said that, I said, ‘I cannot let anyone else beat me to the mobile cupcake market!’” Francois says, laughing.

It seems one of Francois’ customers had suggested Francois take the business on the road two years ago.

“I would go back to it every few months and re-read her e-mail and look at the pictures,” Francois says.

And that article proved to be the push Francois needed.

“By the end of the week, I had a bus,” she says.

She and her husband (and master carpenter-turned-VP of cupcake operations) picked up a used-car flier in southern Kentucky.

And on the back, there it was: A local had converted an old yellow school bus for tailgating at Titans’ home games.

“It had running water and a bathroom. . . and I brought all the money I had and I said, ‘We’ll take it!’”

After all, Francois is an avid listener of radio financial guru Dave Ramsey, and she tries to pay cash for everything.

“The only thing the Cupcake Collection owes is taxes,” she says proudly.

These days, Nashvillians can find the Cupcake Bus at the downtown Regions bank, outside Centennial Hospital’s emergency room, at a private wedding, in The Gulch, 12th Street South, Franklin or Clarksville.

Fans just need to check out The Cupcake Collection Facebook page to see where the bus will be.

Just like at the store, the Cupcake Bus runs out of $1.50 sweet potato, red velvet and strawberry cupcakes first.

Francois lets the mobile bakery go outside Middle Tennessee, too, during fund-raiser jaunts for her children and their friends who are looking to raise money for college tuition.

Her son, Dillon, and three of his friends took the bus to New York and back and kept all the proceeds from each stop.

But the bus isn’t the only way that Francois gets cupcakes to customers who don’t come to the Germantown store.

“Don’t forget to tell people that we ship and we deliver all around Nashville, and all around the U.S.!” she shouts, laughing, at the end of the interview.