Cupcake Sales Sweet at New Reading Business
Cupcake City featured on Phantom Gourmet.
You’ve probably heard about them. Maybe even seen them. But have you tasted one of the gourmet gems from Cupcake City?
Banana toffee. Lemon. Red velvet. Peanut Butter. Hostess. Oreo. Vanilla. Strawberry shortcake. Signature chocolate. S’more. Maple pancake. Mint. Those were Friday’s flavors.
Business is booming, owners and friends Kristin Cataldo and Karin DiNapoli told Patch.
A week and a half ago the two Reading residents and mothers appeared with their creations on TV, on the Phantom Gourmet. A segment of the show will be filmed at the store in the next several weeks.
Cataldo and DiNapoli knew each other for eight years before they opened their store just under six months ago, according to Cataldo.
“We knew both of us liked to bake,” she said.
They have similar tastes, and had traded recipes. DiNapoli had been baking special occasion cakes for three years, at home, and “needed to expand.” Cataldo, an attorney who moved from a law firm in Boston to her own firm in Woburn, was “tired of the rat race” and had earned kudos for her cupcakes. At the time, their children attended Wood End Elementary School.
Cataldo did some research. The nearest cupcake competitor, DiNapoli said, is in Boston. So they “scrambled,” Cataldo said, “to open before anyone else.”
As part of their research, “We ate a lot of cupcakes,” DiNapoli said. They visited cupcake shops on Cape Cod and in New Hampshire. They looked for space in Reading for about five months. They also gave away 1,000 mini-cupcakes at the fall town fair.
They thought they’d sell between 150 and 200 cupcakes a day.
“Hah,” Cataldo said.
On Saturdays, their busiest day, she said they can sell between 700 and 800. On their opening day, DiNapoli said, they sold 1,700. Since the treats have no preservatives, they are best eaten within 24 hours of when they’re bought.
Valentine’s Day was particularly hectic for the store owners. A line 20 people long snaked out the store door, according to Cataldo.
”We emptied and filled the (display) case four times before we closed our doors,” she said.
At the same time, they had to fill 75 special orders, she said, and make and deliver 600 cupcakes in Natick.
Several days after they opened, they had to bake, decorate and deliver 1,200 cupcakes for six branches of the Reading Co-Operative Bank, Cataldo said, for employee appreciation day.
“We were here til 3 in the morning,” DiNapoli said.
They’ve hired two bakers. Now they split their time in the store.
The economy hasn’t affected the business, according to Cataldo, because cupcakes are “somewhat recession-proof.” You can buy only one or two.
“A treat,” DiNapoli said. “A reward.”
A cupcake is $2.75.
The most popular flavor? Chocolate Hostess, which looks like its namesake, according to DiNapoli, but it’s filled with home-made marshmallow cream.
Down a hallway from the cupcake display case, the duo created a bright, airy room where groups of up to 20, children and adults, can hold a cupcake-decorating party.
Natasha Costa and her daughter, Elizabeth, 5, sat in the store last Friday afternoon to eat their treats. According to Natasha, Elizabeth “wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
Cupcake City, 137 Main St., 781-944-0400, www.cupcakecityreading.com, Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting June 1: Thursday and Friday until 7 p.m.