Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

Have a sweet tooth to satisfy? Head for “A Cupcake For Later” located in a quaint, little bake store on the Main Street of Willimantic in Windham County, Connecticut.

Delightfully, I stumbled upon this gourmet cupcake shop while attending the Fourth of July Boom Box Parade. A new speciality introduced that day was, Apple Pie cupcakes, because said Owner/Baker Cheryl Preston – “What’s more American than apple pie?” Absolutely delectable, they were just one of an assortment of specialty cupcakes with creative names, baked on site by Cheryl, a.k.a. , the Cupcake Lady. Her husband, Jim Preston, is a supervisor at Home Depot but helps out when he can.

For breakfast, how about a Maple Bacon cupcake? Perhaps the warm weather makes Citrus Cheesecake an appealing choice. The assortment goes on and on – Carrot Cake, American Pride, P. B. Lovers made with peanut butter is a big seller along with Chocolate Cover Strawberry – a creme-filled chocolate number. And there are more, such as Who Wants Sprinkles, We All Want S’mores…, the cupcake of the day, as well as, sugar-free and gluten sensitive selections. Available cupcake choices depend on selections baked for the day.

“Everyday we have at least one sugar free cupcake, sometimes two,” noted Jim.

The shop opened only four months ago . “We found this spot in February and opened on March 17th,” Cheryl said.

Owner/Baker for “A Cupcake For Later” Cheryl Preston shown with her husband Jim Preston who helps out at her cupcake shop.

Her entrepreneurial story of turning lemons into lemonade will likely resonate with many Americans out of work due to the struggling economy. Having grown up in Windham, Cheryl was graduated from Windham High School in 1980. Eventually, she moved to Florida for eight years and there met her husband. They opted to make their home in Connecticut where Cheryl continued her career in customer service until a couple  years ago when the company she worked for relocated her division to the Mid-West.

“Forty of us lost our positions,” she recalled.

After pounding the pavement to no avail and faced with competing with 110 other applicants for one job, Cheryl decided it was time to try another approach. She loved baking and was always being tapped to bake for area fundraisers. Cheryl began experimenting with cupcake flavors and tested the waters at a local craft show. Success! So she took the bold, brave step of opening her own business – a gourmet cupcakes and cakes for all occasions shop.

Things have been going well, agreed Cheryl and Jim. Judging from the line at the counter and joyful expressions on the faces of customers seated at the tables as they indulged in the sweet treats, the future of “A Cupcake For Later” looks bright (the shop title actually uses a visual for the word cupcake.)

In addition to walk-in customers, the cupcake shop will deliver and Cheryl bakes cakes to order. Should your travels bring you here to sample one of Cheryl’s creations, remember to carry home one of those pink  bakery boxes with a few more inside – after all, you just might want – a cupcake for later.

798 Main Street – Willimantic, CT 06226 Phone 860-456-2224 Fax 860-456-2303 Opened  Tues.- Wed. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thurs., Fri., & Sat. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.