Cupcakes offer taste of success for Midhurst

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She is a firm believer that people are never too old to try something new, so 51-year-old Carole Sharp has gone into business making exotic cupcakes.

She set up a website for the Exclusive Cupcake Company and began making them from her kitchen in Chichester.

But in less than a year it has grown so much she is now hoping to open her Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tearooms in the former Halifax office at Midhurst.

“I have been operating via my website and going to craft and wedding fairs, and now it’s pretty obvious I need to get out of the house and into a shop as my dining room is no longer a dining room,” she said.

“People need to be able to see what my products look like, and having a shop window would be fantastic.”

She said she was very excited about the prospect of moving to Midhurst.

“I think it’s a really up-and-coming area with all the building expansion going on and there is nothing like my shop in Midhurst or the surrounding area so it’s going to be something completely new.”

Although still specialising in cupcakes, Carole is also expanding and makes cakes for wedding, birthday and other celebrations.

She will also be offering special gluten-free and dairy-free cakes for diabetics and those with gluten intolerances.

“The vintage tea room is going to be something really different and I have had such fun designing it,” said Carole.

“It’s going to be afternoon tea at the Ritz without the Ritz price tag, with a wine list of teas. I am so excited about it.”

This week she has been running cupcake workshops for children as part of the MADhurst festival activities and intends to continue her workshops at her shop on Rumbolds Hill.

A cookery teacher for more than 30 years, Carole offered to make a special wedding cake made of cup cakes for a friend last July.

“She told me I ought to be in business and I thought, ‘you are right’.

“So within three weeks the website was up and running and I was off, but it’s been a very steep learning curve being a businesswoman.”

She is now waiting for planning permission to change the use of the former Halifax office from financial services to retail and catering.

She hopes to open the Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tearooms in October.

“It is going to be the most secure cake shop in the country because as a bank it has internal cameras, metal doors and bars on the kitchen windows!” she added.