KNOXVILLE (WATE) - You can help the local economy simply by eating dessert.
We're not talking about just any sweet. We're talking all cupcakes.
The number of cupcake shops in Knoxville is growing. The first two shops opened in 2008 on Kingston Pike in Bearden. They are just a few blocks apart.
"We feel really good about bringing cupcakes to Knoxville, and being the first to do it," said Meredith Layton, co-owner of The Cup.
But The Cup, formerly called the Cupcakery, was only first by a matter of days. Linda Hurst opened Cities Cupcake Boutique just days later.
Both of the business owners told 6 News they see the competition as a good thing.
In fact, Hurst said she was surprised when she moved here from Washington, D.C. that there were no cupcake bakeries in the area. That's when she started formulating a plan for her shop.
"We have over 23 flavors of cupcakes. Each cupcake has a city name," Hurst said, "For example, Knoxville is our orange cake with our vanilla buttercream. Anyone who has been to Knoxville knows in the fall there is a lot of orange and white around."
Layton isn't from Knoxville either. She grew up in Memphis and got the idea for a shop after her sister opened one in St.Louis.
"(We) got recipes from her, training from my sister, the name," said Layton. "We worked together to build business here in Knoxville."
The Cup recently expanded, adding another store at Turkey Creek. Cities plans to open up in the new Farragut Outdoor Market.
And now a third cupcake bakery has moved into West Knoxville. GiGi's Cupcakes is just one block down from The Cup's new location in the west end of Turkey Creek.
Amy Tate is a franchise of owner of this shop, but yes, this shop too has Tennessee roots.
"(GiGi's) started in Nashville at their Broadway store," Tate said. "Now they have 36 stores in six different states and hope to have about 50 by end of the year."
At the end of the day, not only are all three of the sweet shops Tennessee-owned with locally baked treats, all three shops give back to community by donating cupcakes to local charities and churches.
Cities also embraces other East Tennessee products by selling local art and The Cup joins forces with local causes like the Ronald McDonald House in a program called "Baking a Difference."
"The community has given to us, so we feel it's important to give back," Layton said. "We love doing it. We dedicate a cupcake for charity in mind and 50 cents from each one sold goes to that charity for that month."