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Crumbs Founder Jason Bauer Develops a Sweet tooth for Real Estate

Jason Bauer

After 11 years of success in the food business, the founder of Crumbs Bake Shop Inc. is switching from selling cupcakes to cooking up some real estate sales.

Jason Bauer started Crumbs with his wife back in 2003; the couple opened their first store in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Jason Bauer recently announced the launch of Voda Bauer Real Estate. The firm, started with Douglas Elliman executive Avi Voda, will handle residential, commercial and investment sales.

Mr. Bauer, 44, isn’t entirely new to the real estate world. While his wife Mia devised Crumbs’ recipes for oversized red velvet cupcakes and other treats, Mr. Bauer worked behind the scenes handling business matters, such as finding new locations for what was once a fast-growing chain.

In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Bauer discussed the state of New York City real estate and the similarities of his business with Crumbs and the real estate market.

The Bauers sold half their stake in 2008 for $10 million. The entire operation was acquired in 2011 for $66 million by a holding company, which subsequently took it public.

Crumbs has struggled mightily since listing on Nasdaq, piling up $22 million in losses over the past two years. Its most recent annual report contains a warning from its accountant saying there is “substantial doubt” the company can continue. According to an article in Crain’s New York, a new management team at Crumbs is trying to revamp the brand, closing underperforming stores and placing some of its products in supermarkets.

In the interview with Bloomberg TV, Bauer states that the company needs to diversify, while cupcakes are still popular, there has also been a decline. “Competition is fierce now, when we started Crumbs, there’s was one other company selling cupcakes. 10 years later, there was over 500 different retailers in the United States alone,” he explained.

The Bauers stopped working at their company in late 2012 and a new management team is closing stores and trying to sell Crumbs-branded products in grocery stores. But the founding family hasn’t cut ties completely; Jason and Mia still control 8.5% of Crumbs’ shares, which currently fetch less than 40 cents apiece.

The read the specifics on the new real estate firm, click here.

By Lolita A. Alford

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