SOUTHINGTON — Fans of TV cooking shows can try some of the baked treats featured on Cupcake Wars, Winner Cake All and Sugar Wars once Watertown-based Hardcore Sweet Bakery opens a second location in Factory Square.
Jeremy and Nicole Braddock started the bakery in 2012 and within a year were featured on the 2013 season of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Since then, they’ve competed in other TV contests, added two food trucks and started baking classes. Work has started on the Southington location, which is expected to open in late August or early September.
The community of small, non-corporate businesses downtown caught the couple’s attention when they were looking to open a second storefront, Jeremy Braddock said. Factory Square’s history as a former tool manufacturer makes the Center Street building feel like home to Braddock, since his Watertown bakery is located in a historic mill.
A former heavy metal musician who toured for 30 years and appeared on MTV, Braddock said he brings the same energy to running his bakery. When he married his wife Nicole, who was working as a nurse, they found they were more passionate about baking.
“With no money we started this business on just enthusiasm and passion alone,” Braddock said.
Cupcakes, cake pops, cookies and smaller cakes will be baked at the Factory Square store — which is around a quarter of the size of the 4,000 square foot Watertown location — while larger orders and full cakes will be delivered daily from Watertown.
The effort to open a second location was helped by the airing of their most recent competition, Sugar Rush, which was released on Netflix in July 2020.
“It was a blessing to air in the middle of the pandemic when businesses were shutting down left and right,” Braddock said. “ … It was like the floodgates opened up.”
The pandemic also gave the Braddocks time to rebrand, incorporating some of the graphics from the competitions they’ve been in and redecorating the Watertown bakery.
“We kind of took all of the elements of the factory and kind of incorporated that Willie Wonka, Tim Burton feel into it,” Jeremy Braddock said of the makeover.
The couple first discussed the idea of a second location in Factory Square with the owners of Perkatory Coffee, which opened a own second location in Factory Square in May 2020.
“They’re going to add unique and delicious bakery options with a really cool vibe that fits the rest of the building really well,” said Perkatory co-owner Joey Perazella.
Perazella met the Braddocks when the bakery started carrying their coffee and through a Mother’s Day collaboration.
Rosie Mariano, owner of Rosie’s Royal Chocolates, said she’s glad to see Factory Square filling up with more complimentary businesses. She opened her shop in the building just a few weeks before the pandemic began and has been seen business picking up markedly since pandemic restrictions were lifted.
“There's more foot traffic, it's summertime so people are walking the trails. The more local people who know we're here, the more publicity it gets,” she said.