Sisters typically share a tight bond, and for two sisters in particular, they share secrets and a sweet tooth. So sweet, they created a business together in two cities hundreds of miles apart.
"She's the city sister. I'm the country sister," says Meredith Layton. These sisters are like butter and sugar, separate they are good, but put them together and magic happens. In this case the magic is in the cupcake.
"We both have an incredible sweet tooth. We love food. We love food of all kind, especially sweet things," says Ericka Frank.
Meredith Layton was a speech therapist for years. Ericka Frank had her degree in nutrition, but these two sisters had a passion for cooking.
"I used to make Meredith appetizers of pickle spears wrapped in lunch meat and I would serve those to her on the metal lid of the saltines cracker container," says Ericka.
They've since moved on from hors d'oeuvres and created a business that started in St. Louis and came to Knoxville.
"My sister and her husband came down to spend Thanksgiving with us and she was just telling me about her bakery," says Meredith.
It was a new concept, a bakery just for cupcakes. Four months later The Cupcakery, now called The Cup, was born in a small shop in Oak Ridge.
"Within the first month, we saw numbers that were amazing and we were like yeah, it will be well-received," says Meredith.
So they moved to Bearden. "Cupcakes took off like a mania because really we were the first cupcake bakery, just for cupcakes, here in Knoxville, the first one to open," says Meredith.
And business has exploded ever since with two locations locally and three in the St. Louis area. These sisters are living parallel lives in very different cities. "We live out on a small mini farm, seven acres out in the country with goats and chickens and literally I almost hit a turkey on the way in this morning. That's how we live," says Meredith. "And she's right up in the city."
But they both collaborate on cupcakes.
"It is not unusual for me to get a text or an email on a regular basis from Meredith saying, 'Oh my gosh you should try this or I have another idea for a cupcake'," says Ericka.
Like the doughnut cupcake, an idea that came from a bible study teacher. "It was a yellow cake with a chocolate doughnut glaze. It had a cream center in it and had a doughnut hole on top and then glaze dribbled on top of the doughnut," says Meredith.
And Meredith and Ericka always come together to cook. "When we are together we have so much fun because we love to eat it and to imagine what it is going to taste like," says Ericka.
"I love my sister dearly. I admire her. I have always called her my big little sister, not in a bad way, but in a great way. Meaning I looked up to her," says Meredith.
"It was all loving each other. We are very close and have been. Unfortunately, physically we're very far apart, so we don't get to spend as much time together as we would like," says Ericka.
Meredith and Ericka, sweet sisters, one in the city, one in the country, both with a love of cupcakes, making their business work from hundreds of miles away.
"In the end, it is a business, but our family and our friendship and our sisterhood goes far beyond a business," says Meredith.
The Cup, one of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.