The Cupcake Lady's daily route:
10:45 a.m. - Near Turlock City Hall, 156 South Broadway
11:30 a.m. -West side of Emanuel Medical Center on Olive Street
12:15 p.m. -East side of Emanuel Medical on Colorado
1:00 p.m. - Old Mervyn's parking lot off Minnesota and Geer
1:45 p.m. - Near Thorsen's Plumbing at Divanian Road
4:30 p.m. - At the corner of Taylor & Tegner
Most retirees opt for a beach house or mountain cabin to while away their leisure years.
But Turlockers Troyce and Steve Fraga chose a different retirement villa — a truck full of cupcakes.
“After my husband retired, we decided it was my turn to have some fun,” said The Cupcake Lady truck owner Troyce Fraga.
The new business venture seemed a natural fit to Troyce Fraga, a lifelong baker who has won state fair awards for her confections. Her love of cupcakes turned her home kitchen into a “research lab” throughout the years, where she has developed more than 75 cupcake flavors, including chili chocolate, black and white, and bacon maple – made with real bacon.
Add in a familial connection to mobile concessionaires – while growing up, her parents owned an ice cream truck – and The Cupcake Lady truck was the obvious conclusion.
Though only in its second week cruising Turlock's streets, business has been booming – The Cupcake Lady has sold out of cupcakes each day.
In part, the Fragas credit the success to their status as the Central Valley's first cupcake truck. The new business seems tailor-made to capitalize on both the cupcake craze and the gourmet food truck trend, made famous by TV shows such as “The Great Food Truck Race” and “Cupcake Wars.”
But the decision to open a cupcake truck was based on firm market research, not trend-chasing, said Steve Fraga, a retired non-profit executive.
“This is a trend that's not going to stop,” he said.
In part, that's because of catering demand, Fraga said. Just last weekend, The Cupcake Lady catered a bridal shower on short notice – after the bride-to-be realized baking that many cupcakes herself simply wasn't going to happen.
Already, the truck is booked for much of the summer wedding season to provide post-nuptial cupcakes. Add in fundraising, birthday, prom, and non-profit engagements, and The Cupcake Lady is an in-demand party accessory.
“We've made it really easy for folks to have a great party,” Steve Fraga said.
The roving truck also makes it easy for customers to find their delicious wares. Constant status updates are posted to the truck's Facebook page and to its Twitter account, letting followers know the truck's location and flavors of the week.
Those flavors are rotated regularly, as about only about five flavors are on offer each day. Small cupcakes retail for $1.25, while large cupcakes are $2.25, with volume discounts available.
The Fragas are still new to the business. But it’s been even more fun than expected, Steve Fraga said, simply because of the hordes of excited cupcake fans. As the truck was parked in front of Emanuel Medical Center on Tuesday, a steady stream of customers excitedly chattered as they waited to make their purchases.
“I saw the truck and we said, 'Ooh, we have to stop!'” said one customer on Tuesday.
“I made a u-turn when I saw it,” exclaimed another.
But while the customers are agog at the new cupcakery, The Cupcake Lady herself has found just one drawback with her new profession.
“I don't really eat cupcakes anymore,” Troyce Fraga said. “It's too dangerous.”
“For the record,” Steve Fraga said, “I still eat cupcakes.”
For more information, visit www.lovethemcupcakes.com, Twitter @lovemcupcakes, Facebook The Cupcake Lady, or call 417-5777.