Gigi Butler may be somewhat of a household name nowadays as the founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes. Still, she is no stranger to the hardships that small business owners face every day, especially the millions of small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
To date, close to 100,000 businesses have had to close their doors due to COVID-19.
When Butler opened her first small business, Gigi’s Cupcakes, it was in the midst of the economic crash of 2008.
“The day I opened my store on Music Row, I had $33 left to my name. I was scared to death,” she explained. “I just opened my doors and prayed that God would provide... and He did.”
Quickly after its launch, Gigi’s Cupcakes grew to the largest cupcake franchise in the world with over 120 stores nationwide. To this date, her business has sold over 100 million cupcakes. Butler sold her company in 2016, but her founding name remains.
In 2020, several franchises had to permanently close their doors, citing COVID-19 and government regulated shutdowns for their lagging sales. “Ughh, it’s painful. It’s my name! But if the communities aren’t going to support small businesses, we won’t survive,” Butler said. “Shopping small and making conscious decisions to make purchases from local businesses is what will keep our neighbors afloat during these uncertain times.”
She admits that she still catches herself looking to make everyday purchases online before quickly finding an alternate local resource for her needs these days.
“If we don’t support each other, we [small businesses] will die,” Butler said.
Butler is on to a new venture herself, starting up another small business. This time, trading in cupcakes for pies. Her latest brick-and-mortar shop, Pies by Gigi, is located at 330 Franklin Road in Brentwood.
Of course, you can find her sweet treats there, but also hearty and wholesome meals at an affordable price. “We do chicken pot pie, Shepard’s pies, tater tot casserole,” Butler said. “And we have lots of gluten-friendly options.”
Butler said adapting to the times we live in now is how local business owners will keep their doors open. By offering services like curbside pickup or delivery, customers will receive the same convenience factor they get when shopping at a big-box business like Amazon.
Pies by Gigi is open seven days a week with daily specials and take-home meals available.