Growing up on Staten Island, my mom would bring home an amazing Mother Mousse cake for almost every occasion. Mother Mousse even created special cakes for my bridal shower and first baby shower. Needless to say, it brought back so many memories when I took my first spoonful of their famous Mother Mousse specialty cups! When I reached out to Teri Rutigliano – one of the owners of the bakery – and asked if she wanted to participate in our BELLA Cover Event, explaining it was to raise money for the Gruposso Family Women’s and Newborn Center at Staten Island University Hospital, she did not think twice about donating her wonderful desserts for a great cause! Mother Mousse is truly a women-owned success story and a business that creates lasting impressions on the people they serve.
In 1983, Mother Mousse Bakery started out as an idea between two friends: Teri Rutigliano had a passion for baking delicious homemade sweets and Joan Sheheen had the mind for business. They began making delectable chocolate mousse cakes, cups and assorted desserts out of Teri’s home and selling them wholesale to restaurants on Staten Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn. As business grew were able to open up their first storefront in Stapleton on Van Duzer Street.
The name “Mother Mousse” was coined by a friend of Teri’s, a local artist named Dennis Sheheen. He was hired to design the logo and wanted it to invoke a grandmotherly “homemade” quality that Teri and Joan strove for in their products. The famous moose logo was born and became the face of Staten Island’s new high-end bakery. During this creative endeavor, Dennis and Joan ended up falling for each other and were soon married.
It wasn’t long before Mother Mousse was busting at the seams: the new space sprung a variety of different homemade desserts, from cheesecakes to pies and seasonal specialties. With the menu expansion and ever-growing success, there was not enough room for production any longer at their Stapleton location. In 1990 they moved to their main location where they reside today on Victory Blvd in Travis. Not only did the production space expand, but the Mousse family was growing as well. Over 20 employees were brought on board and Joan welcomed a baby girl named Keri the same year.
The Victory Blvd location allowed even more dessert options, including custom sheet cakes and even custom fondant designs for weddings, sweet 16’s and other special occasions. They eventually opened up a second location in order to reach a wider audience. Not only Staten Islanders came for their home-baked goodies; New Jersey, Brooklyn and Manhattan fans made their way over to try Staten Island’s famous cakes.
Mother Mousse became one of the most successful women-owned businesses over the course of 37 years. Joan’s daughter, Keri expanded their specialty cake business with artistic and edible creations. She and a dedicated former employee, Andrea Lasaponara, are looking to take over in the coming years to continue the success and dedication of creating amazing and unique desserts.
By: Lynette Barbieri
Get in touch with Mother Mousse here + follow along on IG! @mothermousse
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