RED BANK: NEW CAKE SHOP PLANS TO POP UP

Melanie Pomerico creates custom-designed cake pops for many occasions, such as weddings (above), holidays, themed birthday parties, and more. (Photo provided by Lil’ Cutie Pops. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Rcsm2_010508Melanie Pomerico of Tinton Falls grew up spending a lot of her time in Red Bank’s shops and restaurants, but didn’t expect she’d one day become part of the downtown’s booming business community.

After graduating from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2003 with a B.A. in photography, she turned her creativity toward baked goods. Thus Lil’ Cutie Pops, a collection of custom-made cake pops, was born in 2010, as a sideline to Pomerico’s work in the photo industry.

Little more than two years later though, she’s preparing to open a retail store, at 16 Monmouth Street, and jump into the brisk competition for local dessert dollars.

Coming soon: Lil’ Cutie Pops is currently under construction at 16 Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

Also selling cake pops is the nearby Posh Pop Bakeshop, which opened just around the corner on Broad Street last June, specializing in gluten-free products; Cupcake Magician at 54 Monmouth; and Sugarush on East Front Street.

“I formed the LLC with the help of SCORE back in 2010, and obtained orders through friends and family via word of mouth,” Pomerico told redbankgreen. “I only looked at it as a small side business though, as I was working in production for photography clients in New York City at the time.”

She started a Facebook page which turned out to be an unexpected spark: word of her deliciously adorable designs spread like wildfire. The page now has more than 4,500 ‘likes.’

The encouragement of her new fans led her to create a business plan “to see where my creations could take me,” she said.

While an official opening date for the shop has yet to be set, renovations to the space by JS Pro Construction are well underway. The shop follows on the heels of Paw Palace, which relocated to Little Silver last year.

Pomerico attributes the shop’s online popularity to the ease with which the page can be shared. “Plus, the products are very visual,” she said. “It’s easy to grab people’s attention with a new design or character.” Lil’ Cutie Pops has also been featured on a variety of different blogs, such as Cupcakes Take the Cake and Hostess With the Mostess.

“Red Bank has many different shops all with something to contribute,” said Pomerico. “My dessert boutique will feature new sweets with a different creative spin.”