Asbury Park, New Jersey’s rich music history has been the backdrop for everything from concerts to feature films, but only Confections of a Rock Star’s Kimmee Masi has been able to fuse her love of music with her other love, baking. She and co-owner Lisa Lasky launched Confections of a Rockstar in 2012, combining treats with names like “Cake By The Ocean Jar” & Velvet Revolver” with the unique backdrop of Asbury Park’s Cookman Avenue. As the pandemic directly impacted businesses up and down Cookman Ave. and beyond, Masi had another idea. Why not directly showcase some of her fellow neighborhood businesses, show how they’ve been making it through these unprecedented times, and give them some free publicity along the way? Masi has featured a number of businesses so far, giving viewers a peek into businesses that they may not have gotten to experience or visit just yet. I caught up with Masi to talk about her Asbury Park beginnings, what she loves the most about Asbury Park, and what it has been like for her as a small business owner in the current climate.
Michael Cook: How has quarantine been for your amazing business Confections of a Rockstar and how have you been making it through?
Kimmee Masi: I like to keep busy, so I found many things to do during quarantine-I knew we had a lot of product in the store and being closed I knew I would have to trash a lot of ingredients(especially dairy) I set up something called Operation Hey Buddy and decided to make baked goods for people who work in grocery stores since they are on the front lines having people yell at them all day! We also donated to nurses, hospitals, police and fire. We are making it through day to day, it’s definitely been challenging
MC: Take me back; when did you decide that baking and particularly cupcakes would be your passion?
KM: My Dad started it all! I received my first drum on my fourth Christmas. My father opened his first bakery in 1979 so at nine years old, I would wake up and go to work with him! Something crazy about getting up at 2am to go into work with my Dad, he was magical and such a bright personality!
MC: When did your love affair with Asbury Park begin and when did you decide to set down roots there?
KM: My parents used to take us to Asbury Park when we were kids to ride the rides; I remember the carousel. I also started playing in bands and started playing in AP when I was 16. Then at 19, I started sneaking in to the gay bars until I got busted-then I had to wait until I was 21 (laughs)!
MC: Tell us about Confections; for those that have not had the chance to grab some cupcakes as of yet …
KM: Confections of a Rockstar does sweet and savory baked goods, If I had to pick one item we are known for, I couldn’t. We have some Gluten Free options and Vegan options, but we are not a Gluten Free or Vegan baked shop. We just want to be able to offer something for everyone. Our products are made from scratch in the store, using the best ingredients which totally makes the difference. If you haven’t been here yet…you totally need too!
MC: You have started a new project titled “What’s Up Asbury Park” where you are giving back and featuring small businesses that are struggling in our community. What sparked the idea?
KM: Helping others is what I love to do in whatever capacity I am capable of. I wanted to help the other businesses because if I can give them some exposure and a new customer, then they just might survive which in turn, I hope we do too. I can’t sit still, I am always thinking of ideas!
MC: What has the reaction been from your community to the series?
KM: They love it, Asbury Park is a community and they have been very appreciative!
MC: Okay we all have our favorite spots in Asbury Park for food, a cocktail or shopping (more than one for cocktails usually LOL). What are some of your favorite spots?
KM: Jeez, to be honest, I believe in supporting all my local businesses. I have been to every one of them I’m pretty sure! We have everything here (but a grocery store lol) so I love the tagline…”When in AP, shop in AP!”
MC: Has quarantine inspired any particular baking or cupcake ideas for you?
KM: Actually no lol, I have been so concerned with making sure we all survive!! We actually minimized our menu since Cookman Ave has been closed. Business is significantly down with the street closure.
MC: We have seen some of our LGBT leaders really step up during COVID, being visionaries of sorts. What it is like to be part of the LGBT fabric of Asbury Park?
KM: That’s very sweet of you to say! Honestly I don’t feel that way. I look at individuals like Mickey Carter, Carol Torre and Camille being the start of the fabric and my apologies if I left any other of the leaders out! God, I can remember being twenty and Gail, Sophie, Alison (not sure if Lisa Clark came in after and a few others whose names I cannot remember) were bartending; It was so different back then! Now, in addition to all of those pioneers, look at all the amazing people we have in this town! Asbury sure has come a long way and if we all keep doing our part in this great little city. I think the best will be yet to come!
Follow Confections of a Rockstar on their website