Baking isn’t usually considered a natural segway from real estate, but that is exactly how it worked for two real estate agents, Joe Barbato and Sharon Tabasco, when the recession slowed their business down. According to Tampa Bay Online, Sharon convinced Joe to buy into her idea after a batch of her cupcakes were a hit at a party.
They leased 1,000 square feet in the 500 SoHo Plaza shopping center, a former ice cream parlor already outfitted with the bureaucratic food-service requirements, like fireproof walls, a mop sink and pricey grease trap.
Most importantly, the existing kitchen accommodated Sharon’s white thumb and room to prepare her 200 cupcake recipes. It also became a test kitchen for experimenting, creating new recipes around select toppings or candies.
Her original toppings include fresh raspberries, strawberries and the like, but some call for unique ingredients like Guinness beer, port wine or vodka-soaked cranberries. The shop’s signature creation: Champagne Pear Bellini.
Word-of-mouth advertising has fueled growth at Frostings Etc.
“We knew we weren’t going to make it on onesies and twosies,” selling a $3.50 cupcake here, another there, said Barbato, whose regular customers call him Joey B. “But the walk-in business leads to other things,” he discovered.
Joey B. tells of the Hyde Park lawyer who popped in one afternoon “just jonesing for a cupcake.” He later phoned: “Your cupcakes are amazing,” he said, ordering 250 for his upcoming holiday party. He reordered the following December.
Photo from Frostings Etc.
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