Gigi's Cupcakes, a family-owned web-based bakery business, has opened its first bricks and mortar shop on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood. Stony's in South Orange has sold the cupcakes for years, making them a local favorite.
"Everyone has been so warm and welcoming," said Gigi Gallodoro, who owns the business with her sister, Nicole.
The shop, at the corner of Springfield and Indiana Street, across from the location of the Maplewood Farmers Market, was formerly ID Bakery.
After eight years of running their successful cupcake catering and delivery service in Scotch Plains, the Gallodoro sisters decided to open their first shop and began looking for a location.
They were familar with Maplewood because their cupcakes had been carried at Stony's in South Orange for years. "I would drive through Maplewood on my way home," said Gallodoro, who also has good friends who live in town. "Plus, I know Kim (Hammer, the owner) at Fringe."
Driving home one day, Gallodoro saw that the space on Springfield Avenue was available and decided to take the plunge.
"All the planets aligned," she said.
Gigi's Cupcakes offers a large selection of cupcake flavors, including Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting (their signature flavor, made with chunks of chocolate in the cake), Vanilla Cake filled with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting.
The 'black velvet' is our bestseller," Gallodoro said. "It's our twist on Red Velvet, and it's jazzed up with chocolate chips."
The store has been in a "soft" opening since Wednesday and the sisters are looking forward to the official opening and Ribbon Cutting on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
Asked if she is worried about opening another bakery in the site of one that only recently went out of business, she said, "Not at all. It's a great location, and I know my product and my customers. When someone bites into a cupcake, they become a repeat customer."
In fact, she said, the shop's very first customer on Wednesday told her, after taking one bite of a cupcake, "I'll also be your second, third and fourth customer!"
Coming from a restaurant family, with her parents and grandparents in the hospitality industry, Gallodoro said she knows what it takes to succeed in the business.
"It's not just (having) a spatula and a mixer, it's a lot more than that," she said.
Gigi’s Cupcakes, 1925 Springfield Avenue, Gigiscupcakes.com; 908-872-5515.