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Saddle Brook Resident Opens Fifth Cupcake Shop

Clifton staff member, Marissa Rossi, with her favorite cupcake, the Lemon Drop: yellow cake filled with lemon pie filling and topped with cream cheese icing.
Clifton staff member, Marissa Rossi, with her favorite cupcake, the Lemon Drop: yellow cake filled with lemon pie filling and topped with cream cheese icing. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Johnny Manganiotis, left, and his father John Manganiotis, outside of Mr. Cupcakes new location at 684 Lafayette Ave., in Hawthorne.
Johnny Manganiotis, left, and his father John Manganiotis, outside of Mr. Cupcakes new location at 684 Lafayette Ave., in Hawthorne. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — Business has been sweet for township resident Johnny Manganiotis.

Manganiotis plans to open a fifth Mr. Cupcakes store at the end of the month in Hawthorne — the first in the chain to have coffee and seats.

Manganiotis launched his business in 2007 after buying a Clifton bakery he found on Craigslist. He christened it Johnny Cupcakes.

He changed the name to Mr. Cupcakes before opening shops in Oradell, Hackensack and Chatham — basically one every other year.

"I always wanted to own a business, but I never knew what I wanted to do," said Manganiotis, who dropped out of college at 22 to purchase a Clifton bakery posted for sale on Craigslist.

With no baking experience, he signed a five-year lease and got a week of training from the former owners. Then he began devising his own cupcake creations.

"People are more impressed by a 22-year-old opening one business than a 30-year-old owning five," said Manganiotis, whose father is a former restaurant owner and whose grandfather owned a diner.

Manganiotis got a publicity boost when he went on Z100's "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" a week after the Clifton opening.

"That got people in the door," he said. "The great product is what keeps them coming back."

"Executive Cupcakes" are fixed menu items: Strawberries and Cream, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Sundae and more.

"The Interns" rotate depending on how well they sell, and include Lemon Drop, Chocolate Raspberry, among others.

Charity work matters to Manganiotis, who's co-sponsoring a Sept. 29 MS Society fundraiser, Cocktails for a Cure, in Jersey City.

"Even if you're not doing well you should still somehow give back or try to raise money," he said.

Manganiotis is already thinking ahead: He hopes to hold a community tree-lighting ceremony and toy drive at Mr.Cupcakes' new location this December.

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