BELMORE, NY – Brooklyn is one of those special places that people take with them wherever they go. When three million people from so many countries are jammed together in a small area, life fills up quickly either with sweet memories and learning experiences. Nancy (nee Dragonas) Moniodes grew up in one of that Borough’s most dynamic communities, the Three Hierarchs church, under the leadership of charismatic pastors like the Very Rev. Eugene Pappas and the late Fr. Angelo Gavalas. For the last fourteen years she has been living in Bellmore, NY, with her husband Jimmy Moniodes – also a product of Three Hierarchs, and her daughter Cassie Marie. She has always loved baking but when she saw how much people enjoyed her sweets, four years ago with assistance and encouragement of her husband and family, she opened a cupcake shop near her home. Its motto is: “It’s hard not to smile when you’re eating a cupcake.”
TNH: How did you get into the cupcake business?
NM: Working with my dad Peter since I was fourteen in his restaurant. He was from Kefalonia and his last store was the Ionian Restaurant. I got the cooking bug while waiting tables and taking orders, and watching my grandmother and mother, Maria, during holidays baking glikismata, but would have never imagined owning my own bakery. After baking cupcakes for my daughter’s sweet 16 and hearing the great reviews, it all of sudden sounded possible. After lots of work, experiments, time and money my cupcake store opened January 7, 2010 under the name “Got Cupcakes?” After a legal battle our bakery is now called “Nancy The Cupcake Lady.”
TNH: What’s special about your store?
NM: On any given day we have at least twenty flavors to choose from. We bake and prepare daily. My husband says besides having delicious cupcakes and unique sweets, it is the friendly atmosphere and happy attitude that keeps them coming back. For me, it’s more important to make someone happy than to make huge profits.
TNH: Belmore seems to be a good spot for your business.
NM: Bellmore is a great town with three high schools walking distance from our shop. There is no shortage of able bodied baking assistance. We are also very active in all the local charities, school and churches. Being a valued member of the Chamber of Commerce, we have enjoyed kudos ranging from Best Bakery in Bellmore, Best Retailer of the Year, and Chamber member of the Year.
TNH: Has your life path been influenced by your Ancient and Modern Greek and Orthodox heritage?
NM: My husband and I attended Sunday School at Three Hierarchs. We attended GOYA meetings and served on the Three Hierarchs Youth (THY) board together. Our families’ lives were always tied with the church. I believe our upbringing and our church teachings permeate every facet of our lives, personal, social and business. Today we are members of St. Demetrios in Merrick where our daughter was active in GOYA and served as its president. She also attended the Ionian Village just prior to attending Iona College in New Rochelle New York.
TNH: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
NM: The Golden Rule: Do on to others as you would have them do unto you. Treating my employees, suppliers and customers the way I would like to be treated works. I believe my efforts reinforce positive relationships and work to pay it forward.
TNH: Do you have role Models? The work ethic my dad taught me is what drives me every day. I also admire Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, as a woman enterpreneur. I also have to thank my mother who taught me patience and compassion for people of all types.
TNH: What’s your ultimate Goal in Life?
NM: My Ultimate Goal is to bring my business to a point where I can spend more time with my family. I would like, God willing, to open a second store and be able to give even more to the community.
TNH: Share with us some words of Wisdom.
NM: I encourage everyone to follow their dream if they truly want it to happen. I grew up having epilepsy and was blessed to have the surgery to correct it. That allowed me to follow my dream to make people happy. Owning the business four years now has given me the opportunity to touch so many people’s lives in many ways, mostly positive, because of all the parties and orders we get once they taste our product. I also get to have personal exchanges with customers and listen to their stories and dreams. It’s more than just selling them cupcakes.