Zeapod Cakery Liz Hale, owner of Zeapod Cakery, preps for 2,000 red velvet "Next Generation Cupcakes" to serve at Super Bowl LI.[/caption]

As the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons travel to Houston to prepare for the big game this weekend, one local business owner is preparing for her own Super Bowl-sized assignment.

When Liz Hale found out Houston would be hosting Super Bowl LI, she searched online to find out how her Cy-Fair bakery, Zeapod Cakery, could get involved.

It took a little more than a year to go through the paperwork process and secure the deal, including health permits, sending documents to Homeland Security and dealing with the FBI. The Super Bowl Host Committee was looking for historically underutilized businesses, and the fact that a woman owns Zeapod helped too, she said.

“They use a lot of local businesses to keep our money local,” she said. “It’s just me and my husband, but we’ve been doing this for a long time and we have the notoriety behind us. We are small, but we’re mighty.”

Zeapod Cakery Liz Hale, owner of Zeapod Cakery, preps for 2,000 red velvet "Next Generation Cupcakes" to serve at Super Bowl LI.[/caption]

Houston Business Connections ultimately connected Zeapod with the NFL, which led to the contract for 2,000 of the bakery’s signature item—"Next Generation Cupcakes"—to be served at tailgating events this weekend.

“They’re providing us with official chef coats, and we’ll have a staff of four with us—me, my husband, his best friend and my mom,” Hale said. “We would take our kids if we could. They run the shop sometimes when we’re not available, so it’s literally a family business.”

The team started prepping treats a week in advance and has been putting together an average of 300 each day while continuing to oversee the day-to-day operations in the shop.

“Everything is a blur right now,” she said Tuesday. “We’re trying to get our timing down where we know we can get at least 100 done per hour.”

The contract also included a specialty five-tier birthday cake for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s daughter. Hale said she got to attend the party and cut the cake last Saturday.

Hale said when she learned her business had been approved for the order, she was in awe. She has kept all the envelopes and check stubs from the project and does not plan on throwing them away any time soon, she said.

Some of the additional funds from the Super Bowl contract will help support the rebranding of Zeapod Cakery as “Cake Fine Pastry” in the coming weeks. Hale said after six years in the community, this has been the plan for a while, but she did not know how the bakery would be able to afford the launch until now.

“Some people get Zeapod, but some people don’t,” she said. “We want people to know we do elegant cakes, and that’s our strong suit.”

The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting for the rebrand March 20.