The deal involves 34 stores in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It's with the same franchise operator that handles Pinkberry and Cheesecake Factory stores overseas. Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles first opened in 2005, and it's generally considered the originator of the fancy cupcake movement (though the founders, former investment bankers Charles and Candace Nelson, said they got the idea after trying the offerings at NY's Magnolia Bakery). By now, there are many, many competitors. Sprinkles itself has stores in Chicago, NY, and Washington, D.C. (press release, Business Journal) From the NYT in 2007:
When the first Sprinkles location opened in April 2005, the couple sold 2,000 cupcakes the first week. Fans, including Oprah Winfrey and Katie Holmes, have been lining up ever since, and now the Nelsons have stores in Dallas and Orange County, Calif., with plans to open six more across the country next year. Despite their business success, their new life isn't necessarily easier. "I found the one job where the hours are worse than investment banking," Ms. Nelson said. "We're on call essentially 24-7." She is due to have the couple's first baby next month and plans to take only a two-week maternity leave.