Redesigning Kensington’s Crave Cookies and Cupcakes

The original Crave store in Kensington underwent an extensive renovation and redesign.

The new space is brighter and more open, and the floor was designed to have a quilt-like pattern.

Rendering courtesy of Sarah Ward Interiors


Crave Cookies and Cupcakes opened its first location in Kensington in 2004 and recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary. After ten very successful years, it was time for a brand pick-me-up and redesign, so Carolyne McIntyre Jackson and Jodi Willoughby (the sisters running the business) met with designer Sarah Ward of Sarah Ward Interiors. They talked branding, company values and design. After several months of work, the result is a brighter space, a new “bake lab” and an enhanced customer experience. 

The newly designed store is scheduled to reopen this Thursday. Ward shares what Calgarians can expect of the new space. 

A space like grandma’s kitchen

When planning the renovation, Ward, McIntyre and Willoughby talked about Crave’s values: the brand is family-oriented and the products are all made from family recipes that were handed down from generation to generation. “We wanted to take those values that the company is built on and portray that in the new interior,” says Ward.

Family, history and tradition are highlighted through Ward’s selection of materials. “We selected a lot of materials that are hand hewn and natural, much like materials you would have seen in grandma’s kitchen growing up,” says Ward. 

Ward’s favourite part of the redesign is the new flooring. It’s bright and graphic and designed off of a traditional quilt pattern. It makes the space friendly and approachable, yet also portrays the quality of the craft going on in the kitchen. 

The re-planned kitchen and the new “bake lab”

This particular Crave location never had the right ratio of retail space to kitchen space. The kitchen occupied too much space. That has changed with the renovation. 

“We re-planned the whole kitchen and it’s now just a large rectangular space in the back,” says Ward. “We were able to double the retail side in the front.” This area has the same function as before: there’s the counter, the cupcake display and a view into the kitchen. 

Adjacent to that is what the team is currently terming “the bake lab.” (This could be renamed.) This is entirely new and inspired by the Lululemon lab in Vancouver. The space is going to be used as a test baking space, where customers can sample new products and see how the products are made. 

“It’s a fusion between a kitchen and a cooking class space,” says Ward. “There is an oven, so it feels like a kitchen. There are also two big work tables with a butcher block, with lots of detailing.” Ward says it feels much like a family kitchen, where family members would gather around to learn from grandma. 

There are going to be classes, parties and events held in this space. 

The colour scheme

Expect the new space to be much brighter as the ceilings are much higher than they were previously. “We took the ceiling down and I was amazed at how much unused space there was up there,” says Ward. “We decided to raise everything up.”

As well as letting in more natural light, the colour scheme is light and fresh too. There are lots of whites, creams and greys, with two tones of blue to reflect the Crave brand.

The consumer experience

The shopping experience will be very similar to what it was before the renovation. It is still more of a takeaway shopping experience. Bench seats have been added in all the windows. “If you did want to sit down and put your feet down for a minute, there’s the opportunity to do that now as well,” says Ward.

Also expect a slightly expanded menu with some new treats and beverages. 

Crave Cookies and Cupcakes’ Kensington store is located at 1107 Kensington Rd. N.W.

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