— One in a series on locally owned, small businesses.
By Travis Sloat
Shelley Hunter said after spending 15 years as a payroll accountant, she got burned out and decided she wanted to do something different.
“Different,” it turned out, was working with edible Play-Doh.
“I took a leap of faith,” Hunter said. “I wanted to work with fondant, and a short time later I opened up an eatery. It definitely put me out of my comfort zone.”
That eatery is The Pink Cupcake, which sits in historic downtown Fort Gibson on Lee Street. It doesn’t just stop at an eatery though.
Hunter does catering as well, and also designs cakes. She said she starts her day at 9 a.m., but often doesn’t finish until after midnight.
“I’ve been known to work all night,” Hunter said. “When I have orders, I fill them. When I don’t have orders, I sleep.”
The Pink Cupcake also features a photography studio, which is run by Hunter’s daughter, Kristen, who also helps with the restaurant when she’s not snapping pictures.
Kristen said she took an interest in photography in high school, and she is now working at her “dream job.”
“I really put my love of photography into action my senior year,” Kristen said. “Mom told me she could pay for my senior pictures, or get me a camera and I could take them myself. They turned out great, and all of my friends wanted me to do theirs too.”
The Pink Cupcake is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. They have daily lunch specials, drinks served in Mason jars, and of course, lots of gourmet cupcakes.
Ruby Austin, a teacher at Fort Gibson Public Schools, stopped by to grab a to-go order, and said she appreciated the convenience The Pink Cupcake offered.
“It’s a really great addition to the downtown shops,” Austin said. “The food is great and the service is very quick.”
The décor at The Pink Cupcake is chic and modern, with homemade centerpieces on the tables and witty signs hanging on the walls.
Since each of the six rooms in the restaurant are rented out to different consignors, there are plenty of items to shop for while you’re waiting on your food.
Items in the boutique include handmade jewelry and quilts, Scentsy supplies, and furniture.
Hunter said business is exceptional for nine months out of the year, and then school lets out for the summer.
“When school is out, the town seems to go dead,” Hunter said. “But we have a lot of people from out of town come in and make up for it. I pray every night for support and direction. It’s a lot of hard work, but it pays off when something goes right.”
Shelly said she graduated from Hilldale High School, but moved to Fort Gibson a short while after, and has been here for the last 28 years.
“The townspeople here are wonderful,” Hunter said. “I’m proud to call Fort Gibson my home.”