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.”