Some people spend years just thinking about starting a business before they actually do it. Not Josie Eriole. Her New Paltz cupcake operation, Moxie Cup, sprang into being five years ago. “I realized that there was nowhere to get a great cupcake around here,” she recalls. “So, I resolved to open a cupcake business that would be awesome.”
This mother of two honed her baking and decorating skills with her kids’ birthday parties and was soon whipping up from-scratch batches for wholesale clients in her home kitchen. “My motto was — and is — ‘If I wouldnâ€‹’t make it for my kids, I wouldnâ€‹’t sell it.’”
She soon moved operations to a small space on Main Street and then opened a satellite shop at nearby Water Street Market. Clients went crazy for her imaginative creations, often named for songs, like “Salt Away My Sugar,” a salted caramel cupcake, and “Linus and Lucy,” a chocolate/peanut butter/caramel confection. Her catering business boomed, too. “By the second year, I was doing 60 weddings and setting up cupcake towers all over creation.”
In 2013, Eriole was ready to tweak her business model: no more wholesale. She took over a former Jack in the Box location on Main Street for more visibility and, realizing that the sugar-induced cupcake high inevitably was going to fade, changed the name of the business from Moxie Cupcake to Moxie Cup, a reference to her sleek, new espresso bar featuring homemade syrups. She also diversified the menu, adding more savory fare, like feta-and-spinach scones. “I wanted it to be a community shop location where people can come sit and enjoy themselves.” Also look for coffee-brewing technique and tasting classes, as well as live entertainment (including performances by Eriole herself, a jazz singer who has performed at many local venues) in the drive-through-area-turned-patio-garden. Eriole has been singing for as long as she can remember. “I sang my first song at five years old,” she says. “I was singing semi-professionally, but it was difficult to travel while raising a family, so I looked at what my other passion was, which is baking.
“I love all the things that go into making a business, like doing the social media and interacting with people,” adds Eriole, who has close to 10,000 likes on her Facebook page. “Sometimes, when people find something they love to do, they are disappointed by what it takes to run a business. But for me it’s the opposite.” And with countless Best of Hudson Valley wins under her belt, Eriole’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
In fact, Moxie Cup is not her first venture. When she was just 22, she opened a nail salon in Albany. “It was great. I’m creative; I’m a risk taker. That’s where the ‘moxie’ in my business name comes from.”
One of the most fun things about owning a business, says Eriole, is that you never know who’s going to walk through the door. One day, actor Mandy Patinkin (Homeland, The Princess Bride), came in looking for donuts, to feed hungry construction workers at his house, but, finding none, ended up getting cupcakes and coffee instead. As he sampled one and turned to go, he said, with dramatic flair to anyone listening, “I shall never go to Dunkin’ Donuts again!”