UNCW alumni shine as entrepreneurs

News Channel 14 by Amy Elliott July 17, 2011 Click here to watch the video WILMINGTON—UNCW alumni have found major success in their former college town despite a struggling economy. Rocco Quaranto never imagined he would own a frozen yogurt bar. Two years after graduating from UNCW, he and two other alumni own three Fuzzy Peach stores in the Port City. The popular pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt shop was the first of its kind in the area. The uniqueness is one of the reasons they decided to set up shop in their former college town. "We weren't naive to think this project had to go in Wilmington," said Rocco. "So we looked at other markets. But it just so happened that with our ties in Wilmington, with our professors at UNCW that we worked with that we could bounce ideas off [of them] and use as mentors." The owners of Coastal Cupcakes are also UNCW alumni. They said the secret to their cupcake success is good old-fashioned hard work. "In the beginning, it was just Meredith and I working open to close, baking everything, working the front counter, shutting the store down, and doing that six days a week. Just figuring everything out," said Kristen Beckmeyer, one of the co-owners of Coastal Cupcakes. The duo now has two locations and bakes up to 900 cupcakes a day. It is a long ways away from three years ago when they met resistance to the idea of a cupcake shop. "When you are coming up with an original idea, everyone is going to doubt you and say it can't be done," said Beckmeyer. "You have to believe in yourself and say it can be done." The Fuzzy Peach recently celebrated one year of business on July 15 while Coastal Cupcakes has been in business for three years.