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Let’s Eat: From graphic design to Crumbs

Mary Davis has found her happy place baking desserts that make people smile.

Mary Davis started her own bakery, Crumbs, when a career as a graphic designer, a passion for the theatre, and some delicious baking came together by chance.

Davis had been employed as a graphic designer at a local firm for 10 years and “got tired of sitting at a desk all the time,” she says. She had a habit of bringing in treats for her coworkers. “They were always telling me, ‘You gotta start a bakery, you gotta start a bakery,’ but it was kind of scary; it’s scary to do your own thing,” she explains. “I had no business background, so I was pretty intimidated by all of it.”

Eventually, she decided baking was what she wanted to do, and starting up her own business wasn’t as daunting as she thought it would be. “Thankfully, being a designer, I was able to do all my own startup design work - my logo, social media, my website,” she says. She realized she had also learned a lot about marketing while working as a graphic designer, so managing her social media to promote Crumbs wasn’t too challenging.

Davis, an improv performer and board member at the Cambrian Players, knew that the theatre group’s new building had an unused commercial kitchen in the basement, so she asked if she could rent the space. “And it all fell into place,” she says. “It’s been really serendipitous!”

Crumbs has a full menu of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, baking trays and other goodies, but Davis says she usually gets orders for cupcakes. She makes 8-inch celebration cakes for birthdays, small weddings and parties, but doesn’t usually do elaborate wedding cakes. That being said, she would love to do a cupcake bar for weddings, she says.

Her most popular cupcakes are the Allan, a chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream, or “anything chocolate,” Davis says. Her brownies are “one of my signature items that made my coworkers say I need to start a bakery,” she says.

“They are super fudgy; one of the chocolatiest things you will ever put in your mouth,” she explains. “If you take a piece that’s a little too big, you feel a little sick afterwards,” she laughs. “In the best way possible!”

In addition to taking custom orders for pickup at the Cambrian Players on Spring Street, Davis participates in some events and markets such as Craft Revival and the local artisans’ market at Creekside Nursery and Garden Centre on Dec 4.

You can also find Crumbs cupcakes at Westfort Foods every Thursday. “I just started [selling there] a couple of weeks ago, and every week the orders have increased,” Davis says happily. The Groggy Toad Coffee House carries her cookies, and occasionally Windy Shores Cafe also has some of her baking.

“I’m looking at starting a subscription box,” she says about the future. “That’s in the very very early planning stages.”

Davis started Crumbs in February 2020, only a few short weeks before the pandemic changed everyone’s lives. Fortunately, she came up with an idea that resonated with customers - cookiegrams.

“They really carried me through the pandemic last year,” she says. “I started selling assorted dozens [of cookies] and delivering them around town. It was a way for people to reach out and tell people they were missing their friends. It just warmed my heart to send so many cookies around town.”

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