The new spot at 103 Memorial Road will be a one-year "pop-up" shop, said owner Carrie Carella, and it will be a replica of the Middletown original with the same eclectic decor and vibe along with coffee, WiFi and a seating area. Though the West Hartford location won't have baking equipment, Carella says fresh product will be delivered from the Middletown bakery multiple times a day.
The opportunity came about when Blue Back officials approached Carella about a seasonal holiday market in the space, she said. She asked about the possibility of staying longer.
"We're popping up for a year; I'm hoping we're a success and we stay," she said. "I'm excited. I'm confident since we've done so much in that area of the state; so far feedback has been really great."
"We search for the right retailers that are a good fit and we know NoRA Cupcake Co. is the perfect fit for Blue Back Square," said marketing director Elizabeth Zigmont in an email. "NoRA Cupcake Co. has such a huge following so we are happy to give them another option here in West Hartford."
The Middletown shop typically offers more than two dozen flavors daily; West Hartford's will also offer plenty of choices, and Carella says there will be plenty of gluten-free and vegan options, anticipating a demand for these in the area.
NoRA Cupcake Company opened on Middletown's Main Street on New Year's Eve in 2011. Since then, Carella, a former bar manager at neighboring Eli Cannon's Tap Room, has seen her business grow well beyond the storefront with a food truck, a "cupcake caboose" trailer, special event catering and restaurant accounts in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. She credits her team of employees, now numbering 25, for the success.
"I feel so lucky to have an amazing crew working with me to make this happen," she said. "It really comes down to people. If you don't have people you trust, and [who] believe in your brand and your vision, you can't accomplish these things."
But while the shop now has a new brick-and-mortar locale in another zip code, Carella says it doesn't change her roots. "I'm never leaving Middletown," she says, reiterating that the "NoRA" in the company's name stands for its address "North of Rapallo Avenue" in the city's North End. "I'm not going anywhere."
Follow progress of the new NoRA Cupcake on Facebook at facebook.com/NoRACupcakeWeHa.