NOM hosts TinyDog Cupcake promotion event

Susan Du

Red velvet, peanut butter with chocolate ganache frosting and banana with buttercream frosting and chocolate chips: These were only a few TinyDog Cupcake flavors Northwestern students were invited to taste at Annenberg Hall on Wednesday.

The owner of Evanston’s TinyDog Cupcake spoke to an audience of about 40 NU students about the TinyDog story as well as the business’ contributions to greater collaboration and communication between NU students and the Evanston community. NU’s food appreciation group, OmNOMnom sponsored the event.

“To date, we haven’t had to advertise for a single position,” owner and NU alumnus Rob Mockard said. “The majority of our employees are Northwestern undergrad and graduate students. Ever since we opened, amazing talent has walked through our doors.”

TinyDog Cupcake opened Nov. 26, and since then it has sold 11,640 cupcakes and 8,430 tiny cupcakes. Its most popular flavors are red velvet, chocolate minty and vanilla fudge. This summer, six months after opening, TinyDog plans to host a One Cupcake, One Vote charity event during which customers may vote for three charities to which TinyDog will donate a total of 10 percent of its profit.

Besides philanthropy and community integration, Mockard said the name of TinyDog Cupcake speaks to the basic principles upon which he founded it.

“First of all, TinyDog is named after the Jack Russell terrier I have at home. She deserved to have a business named after her,” Mockard said. “But the name also describes something that is not afraid to take on something bigger than itself. We wanted the name to be real and to sound like there was a story behind it. We didn’t want anything corporate or generic sounding.”

In recounting the story of TinyDog’s founding, Mockard said he faced challenges ranging from landowners’ being cynical about small-business success to finding the right blend of ingredients.

“Tonight is an exercise about what Northwestern students want,” he said. “By listening to what patrons enjoy, we’ve gotten some really good combinations.”

Tess Wartman, event attendee and Communication sophomore, said TinyDog’s success fits in with the recent “cupcake revolution” that has been sweeping the country.

“It’s weird that cupcakes are everywhere all of a sudden,” she said. “Everyone’s opening cupcake shops. There are TV shows like ‘Cupcake Wars’ about them.”

Ever since New York City’s Magnolia Bakery was featured in “Sex and the City,” the cupcake trend has bounced from coast to coast, finally reaching Evanston, Mockard said.

“Everybody’s mind is on cupcakes,” NOM executive and Bienen senior Rachel Waxman said. “There aren’t a whole lot of dessert places in Evanston to begin with, and I like that TinyDog has a focus on cupcakes. Also, it’s good to support NU grads.”

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