John Truel isn’t a typical entrepreneur. At just 12 years old, he already co-owns a cupcake shop.
John, who has Down syndrome, and his mother, Patricia Truel, co-own Cupcakes on 8th in Marshfield, Wisconsin. In an interview with TheBlaze, he said that working in the shop, which sells gourmet cupcakes and plays 1950s music, is fun.
Patricia said that her son helps run the store after school by greeting customers, working the cash register, sweeping the floor, and washing dishes.
John said that he likes to open the door for his customers and “give them hugs.” He also said he enjoys when his friends come to the shop.
“The whole purpose of this store is very personal,” Patricia told TheBlaze, saying that she wants John to learn job skills. “But the awareness that has come from this is just incredible, it melts my heart. I mean, we have Down syndrome friends who come in here, and they’re just in awe that he’s working here. They want his autograph and stuff. It’s quite funny.”
While the shop sells a variety of flavors of cupcakes, John said that “peanut butter cookie” is his favorite.
His least favorite part of the store, he said, are the “clothes,” gesturing to his uniform.
Cupcakes on 8th has been a learning experience for her son, Patricia said. One of the things he has learned is how many cupcakes constitute a dozen.
“That was pretty amazing,” she said.
The shop sells mini cupcakes for 25 cents apiece during John’s shift. They also sell make-a-cupcake kits by mail.
His favorite part of being a business owner, he said, is having “responsibilities.”
Wisconsin’s WSAW-TV visited Cupcakes on 8th to see John at work. Watch their report below: