Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen in Vista is now home to a registered Little Free Library. Courtesy photo
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Vista’s Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen bakes up Little Free Library

VISTA — Vista residents will now have access to free books thanks to longtime bakery, Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen.

Don Hein, owner of the bakery on Main Street, said his team was inspired to create a Little Free Library by a customer. The Little Free Library is a nonprofit created a decade ago that inspires people to offer free books to the public. The library at the Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen now joins more than 90,000 other registered free “libraries” around the world.

“We thought this would be a great addition to our business and looked into setting one up,” Hein said. “Since our bakery has a focus on the quaint aspects of the past, making products from scratch, decorations reminiscent of a 1930s era home, etc., we loved the idea of our customers sharing actual, physical books with one another. We look forward to more customers taking some time, sitting to enjoy a classic dessert while reading a good book.”

Christina Mayer, a manager at the Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen who implemented the idea, said she was inspired by a regular customer, who also created a Little Free Library.

“Having a Little Free Library right in our shop appealed to us so much because we hope it will encourage more conversations about books, and make more books more accessible to the community,” Mayer said. “To me, it means more meaningful connections and storytelling with members of our community, which in the long-run, I believe can bring people together for a common good.”

Since launching its Little Free Library in recent weeks, the bakery is now home to a variety of reads including children’s books, young adult titles and self-help books. All books were donated by employees, Hein said. The team hopes to receive more books in the new year and plans to run promotions to increase its library’s offering.

The addition of the Little Free Library comes during the Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen’s 10th anniversary. Since its opening a decade ago, the bakery has seen major milestones. It’s been featured on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” winning the competition two times. It has also expanded by offering its baked goods inside Gelson’s Markets.

A longtime baker inspired by his mother, Hein said he hopes to continue the bakery’s reach by partnering with more markets in its 10th year.

“There are some amazing opportunities we have in the coming months and we would just love to offer our cupcakes to as many people as possible in the area as well as in other areas of the U.S. if possible,” Hein said. “The people of Vista and North County have been so supportive of our little bakery for so long and we are extremely grateful and pleased to have been a part of this community for so long.”

In the meantime, the staff behind the Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen are excited to introduce customers to its latest offering of free books.

“I used to frequently visit used bookstores and loved the idea of finding something I might not have otherwise thought to read,” Hein said. “It is very early, but people have already expressed excitement and enthusiasm over the concept.”

Mayer, who has been working at the bakery for more than two years, said she hopes their version of the Little Free Library will continue to expand with offerings for all age groups.

“I want us to have a huge bounty of family/age-appropriate books that everybody can enjoy,” Mayer said. “The goal is to see more families go home with not only a cupcake, but a book too.”

For more information about the Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen, go to littlecakeskitchen.com. For more information about the Little Free Library, go to littlefreelibrary.org/.

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