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Johnny Cupcakes Comes to Martha’s Vineyard

The family business gone global will open a shop on Circuit Ave in June.

The story behind Johnny Cupcakes is a good one. Such a good one, that the creator/owner Johnny Earle lectures all over the world on how he turned a simple joke into a multi-million dollar business using nontraditional methods.

With only four stores open, the company has chosen Martha’s Vineyard to be location of its fifth.

Most of the “Story” can be found on the Johnny Cupcakes website:

“Customers like and appreciate the story and work ethic behind my brand. I started this as a joke from the trunk of my beat up '89 Toyota Camry. A college drop out with a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle, I never wasted my time going out and partying but instead focused only on brainstorming and sketching up my wacky ideas. I turned down investors and took countless risks like keeping my shirts out of chain stores.”

And even though the Johnny Cupcakes brand is international, Johnny Earle has made it a point to focus on the quality of his product and has turned down many investors who wanted to make the company a huge commercial enterprise.

Still, we can hear you groaning out there…”how does this international chain get to open a store in Oak Bluffs? Next thing you know, there will be a McDonalds!”

Not to worry. As it turns out, even though there are Johnny Cupcakes stores in Los Angeles, Boston and London, this is a family business and Johnny’s mom is an Island girl.

According to Linsay Earle, Johnny’s sister who picks up the phone on the first ring when you call the customer service number, Lorraine Bergeron grew up on the Island. In fact, her family still lives here and the Earle family has visited at least once a month their whole lives. Lorraine even met her husband here.

“My dad was a taxi driver on the Island and my mom worked at the Harborview where he used to pick up guests in his cab.”

The amount of family involvement in the Johnny Cupcakes business would make any Island family proud. In addition to the work his sister does with customer service, HR and promotion, Johnny’s mother is the CFO of the company and his father does the build-out for all the stores.

For the past two years they have set up a successful pop-up shop in the Dock Street Diner for a few weeks in the summer.

“This year we saw a perfect place on Circuit Ave and decided to go ahead and open a shop on the Island. We signed a three-year lease and so we’re here for a while,” said Earle.

Just in case you don’t know, Johnny Cupcakes doesn’t actually sell cupcakes. They sell Johnny Cupcake t-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories like wallets, key chains, etc. The stores themselves are set up to look like bakeries, with the clothing and other items in bakery cases. There is even a faint smell of cupcakes as you walk through the door.

The traditional Johnny Cupcake logo is a cupcake skull and crossbones, but there are many different Johnny Cupcake designs. Some of these are limited edition releases that fans line up for on the day of their release (where they are often rewarded with real cupcakes).

Johnny Cupcake collectors on the Island can look forward to a few limited editions as well.

“We are definitely going to have some awesome designs for the Vineyard store,” said Earle.

Johnny Cupcakes will be in the old location at 45 Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs. They will open their doors on Saturday, June 16.

Audra Myerberg May 07, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Hmm, not sure we need yet another sweatshirt store.
Maggie Dempsey May 07, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Did we say goodbye to Sweet E's? :( I was such a fan... they had the cutest little shops. According to this article, they were able to sign a 3 year lease. That's the benefit of a chain store I guess - they can actually afford the sky high rent the island property owners want to charge, while smaller local businesses question whether they will be able to afford another year here.
Mathea Morais (Editor) May 07, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Sweet Es isn't closing they are only moving into the old candy shop next door. Also, Johnny Cupcakes doesn't sell cupcakes :)
Johnny Cupcakes May 07, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Hello Maggie! The space that we're leasing belonged to Hair By Dana, who chose to focus her business in her home workspace location. We are not a chain store, just a local, private, independent, family-run business with heavy roots on Martha's Vineyard. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or curiosities!
Johnny Cupcakes May 07, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Hello Audra! If we were yet another sweatshirt store, we would not have been as successful and celebrated on MV as we were during our last 2 years pop up shops there. In addition to my roots on MV, we're only opening a shop there as more than half of the island has requested us to. Thank you for the feedback though & I hope to give you a big high-five at the grand opening!
Mathea Morais (Editor) May 07, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Johnny Cupcakes, so glad to see you on MVPatch and can't wait to see your Island inspired designs!
Nadine Barrett May 07, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Wish you the best of luck, and can't wait to get my first Johnny Cupcakes shirt . Nadine Barrett
Bob May 07, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Welcome to the Vineyard, good luck and best wishes for success on the Island, I know you'll do just fine! The family has been following your success through the years, your a hard worker so with that said, see you on Circuit Ave.
Maggie Dempsey May 07, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Sorry to confuse! Seeing a local article about "cupcakes" reminded me that there was news last fall that Ezra was looking for a buyer for Sweet E's... I never remember seeing any press in regards to the transaction or what would happen regarding the fate of Sweet E's so I assumed the worst! Glad to hear they're just moving down the road a bit - and glad too, to hear of an awesome business coming to Circuit Ave! Welcome Johnny Cupcakes! It sure is nice to hear of things OPENING instead of closing down :)
Ashley Gilbert May 08, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Good luck! I think it's great. With so many empty store locations, The Vineyard needs new businesses, especially family run ones. I just opened a store, Free Bird Market in Vineyard Haven three weeks ago and we are family run too. Everyone has been very supportive of my business so far, hopefully everyone will be to Johnny Cupcakes as well.
joy May 08, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Wait - I thought I just saw Hair by Dana standing 6 weeks ago. How do we reach Hair by Dana now?
Ken Esq June 18, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Good luck! Question...I was looking online and see that your T-Shirts and other items are fairly pricey ($36 shirts). Just wondering where/what country you source the shirts from. Other than the designs is there anything that sets the shirts apart quality wise? Do you make sure the factories making your shirts aren't using child labor, etc? I'm not making accusations...just wondering as my family is all for supporting businesses that do the right thing even if the price is higher.

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