Dec. 13, 2013 By Christian Murray
Brooklyn Cupcake, which opened in Long Island City to much fanfare less than a year ago, has closed.
The store, which shared space with Uncle Louie G’s ice cream shop, was located at 5-43 48th Street, and closed just before Thanksgiving.
Carmen Rodriguez, who founded Brooklyn Cupcake three years ago, said that “business was not the greatest at the location.”
She said Long Island City was a tough market to crack. She said that many residents would only go past the Vernon Blvd commercial strip on their way to and from the subway—but would not hang out there. Therefore, she said, she had a limited opportunity to sell her products.
Rodriguez sold more than 20 types of cupcakes, from red velvet to rainbow cookie. She infused the flavors of her Puerto Rican and Italian heritage into the baked goods.
Rodriguez said that in Williamsburg, where she founded Brooklyn Cupcake, resident tended to live and socialize in the neighborhood. Therefore, there is always a constant hum around the area.
But she has no regrets that her Long Island City venture wasn’t a big success.
“It was worth coming and giving Long Island City a try,” she said. Her aim to break into the market did not cost her anything, she said, since she sold enough product to cover her rent and pay her employees.
Rodriguez was able to keep her costs low by splitting the rent with Uncle Louie G’s ice cream shop where she was located. Her monthly rent was only about $1,800.
But the closure of the Long Island City business has not dampened Rodriguez’ ambition—nor has the recent closure of her DUMBO location.
Despite these two setbacks, the company continues to operate in Williamsburg and out of the Barclays Center—and continues to experience growth.
The company has just gained entry to sell its product at Whole Foods in Brooklyn; is opening a pop-up store in Bay Ridge and is going to focus on e-commerce.
She said that business continues to increase at its Barclays Center venue.
Rodriguez entered into cupcake business after being laid off from Shade Store in Long Island City in 2009. Her mother provided her with her entire life savings to get the bakery off the ground. Two aunts also donated funds.
“I started selling my cupcakes out of a bagel store in Williamsburg,” Rodriguez said. “It gained traction and rolled on from there.”
It wasn’t well marked, the hours were short, and it felt like a second-class location.
They didn’t bake the cupcakes there, they just dropped off a bunch of plastic containers with them. If you bought a cupcake they had to open up the prepackaged delivery and get them out. Not a big deal if you charge for packages goods, but these were bakery fresh prices.
the cupcakes were OK but pricey and it wasn’t the best location from outside and not the most inviting inside.
Good luck for future growth, barclays sounds more like a venue.
Don’t talk bad about LIC though. You can crack it if you really want
I honestly can’t remember the last time I even ate a cupcake as an adult. Gotta be at least a decade. There’s the problem with that type of business.
That sucks. In my opinion these cupcakes are better than Magnolia. I like that the icing isn’t the typical heavy butter cream. I agree that they probably weren’t in the best location. Maybe Food Celler can carry their cupcakes.
The problem is this whole cupcake thing is a hyped-up fad. Like all fads, they die out. If you have a business offering no-nonsense stuff people have always loved and sought out, you won’t have a problem in LIC. There are plenty of people just waiting to patronize your business
lic houses more dbags than any other place in the world
I don’t think the idea of people lingering on the LIC commercial strip is germaine to the lack of business for overpriced cupcakes in a sub-par ice cream shop.
That’s sad. I’m glad I had a cupcake there before it closed and wrote briefly about it here http://livelic.com/places/uncle-louie-g-brooklyn-cupcake/
Part of the problem is that Uncle Louie G’s always runs out of ice cream and is often not open when it should be. So local residents get discouraged and don’t bother going.