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Fighting for Survival: Gigi's Cupcakes Hoping for 2021 Revival

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There could be hope on the horizon for a 10-year veteran of the Charlotte cupcake scene.

What You Need To Know

  • Gigi's Cupcakes lost 90 percent of its business at the start of the pandemic

  • Cancelled weddings, other events, and closed offices led to the financial struggles

  • A strong February is giving the owners hope of staying open


Gigi’s Cupcakes in Charlotte is fighting for survival after announcing earlier this year it was left for dead.

With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the business, Dana Walton and her husband had announced the store would close in February right before its 10th anniversary.

"To close a cupcake shop for two months, is just...We have never caught up,” says Dana Walton as she reflected on the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Gigi’s Cupcakes, which Dana and her husband purchased about three years ago, stayed closed for more than a month as they, and the world, tried to work around the COVID-19 shutdowns in the spring of last year.

But business suffered heavily, the couple estimates they went from about 10,000 cupcakes in a good month to just a thousand during the worst of the pandemic.

"Sales dropped 90% at first,” Dana Walton adds.

The pandemic hit the business like a freight train and left the Waltons scrambling to cover costs and continue supporting their nine staff members.

"We couldn’t pay all the bills, because we weren’t making enough money. So, we were struggling, and we personally were putting money into the business trying to keep it alive. Keeping our staff paid, I mean they have bills to pay too,” Walton says.

Nothing worked. Eventually, the Waltons laid off their nine-person staff and started working 12- to 14-hour days to cover the business.

Since then, their three children, some in college, have returned home as often as possible to help around the bakery.

"It’s really hard because, they’re working so hard, people have been coming in, which is nice, but if they would have come in earlier, throughout the whole year, that would’ve been great,” says Natalie Walton, their college student daughter.

If you’re wondering what the economic impact of a pandemic is on a cupcake business, it is not pretty.

First, offices closed near the shop, which Walton says cost them hundreds of customers, who would usually come in on lunch breaks to grab a few cupcakes.

Then weddings, birthday parties, and other events were cancelled, landing another punch. Wedding cupcakes had become big business, according to Dana Walton.

Finally, they suffered a brutal economic hit when the Republican National Convention skipped town.

The store was supposed to supply 15,000 cupcakes over the course of the event. When the order was cancelled, the Waltons estimate it cost them roughly $60,000.

A rough 2020 seemed to turn a corner with a promising rush of Christmas business, but then a dismal January led them to announce their store would close at the end of February.

"It just gets to the point where, are we going to pay to stay open, or we’ve got to make a tough decision,” Walton says fighting off tears.

However, their cupcake story could have a sweet surprise.

After a quick comment on a Facebook post announcing their closure, Walton says a miracle happened. Business took off in February.

The family was able to start making payments and now are working on a potential deal with their landlord.

"That’s the part that makes me cry, because the community has been so sweet and so kind and supportive, and they really don’t want to see us go. And they’ve done everything they could do, and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart,” Walton says through tears.

She says it made it feel like an "old Charlotte" sweetness had descended on their shop.

As of this week, the Walton family and their landlord are still working out the details on a potential deal allowing them to stay in the space.

Dana and her husband hope to keep Gigi’s Cupcakes open for an 11th year and many more to come.

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We're going to be closed for Easter Sunday, come by today before 5 to pick up your Easter cupcakes!
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Main Menu

Please place all orders online, for curbside pickup.
We believe in using the finest ingredients, baking fresh every day, and serving up moist, luscious cake along with melt in your mouth frostings and glazes. Not only does Gigi's Cupcakes appeal to sweet eaters, but we've also converted many non-sweet lovers with our delectable tasty cupcakes!

Gigi's Signature Black Velvet Cake

Our twist on Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting

Oreo Cake with Vanilla Buttercream rolled in Crushed Oreos

Banana Cake with Nutella frosting

Lemon Cake, Lemon Buttercream

Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting rolled in Shredded Coconut

Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting rolled in Toasted Coconut

Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Buttercream

with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Espresso Chip Cake with Mocha Buttercream

Vanilla Bean Cake, Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Whipped Cream

Chocolate cake, Salted Caramel

Graham Cracker Cake Stuffed with Chocolate Ganache topped with Toasted Marshmallow

Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Buttercream Blended with Confetti

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse Whipped Cream

Vermicelli chocolate sprinkles

Graham Cracker Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Cake, Caramel and Gigi's Signature New York style Cheesecake Frosting.

  • (for less than 6 boxed)$3.25

  • (for less than 6 boxed)$1.75

Jumbo's available in limited supply daily in the following flavors: Vanilla cake, Chocolate cake, Black Velvet cake (our version of Red Velvet) and Birthday Cake flavor with your choice of frostings
  • Personalized Transfer$11.00

Made Daily in Vanilla and Chocolate Cake. All of our frostings are gluten free.
  • Original per dozen$45.00

Cupcakes not included. Having a big party and need a bevy of cupcakes? How about a big fancy tower? Call us to find out more about our tower rentals.

3 Tiered Serving Tower


3 Tiered Graduated Tower

decorated with double-faced satin ribbon and bows; (Your choice of ribbon color: Magenta, White, Black, Silver or Royal Blue)

Please place your orders online for curbside pickup.

Please finds us @Gigi's Cupcakes on Uber Eats or DoorDash for delivery options.

Tuesday - Saturday from 11am to 4pm

96 ounces of fresh brewed Colombian coffee. Served with ten 8 ounce cups, cream, milk, sweetener & stirrers. Perfect for office parties

Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Ginger Ale

Rich, Dark & Creamy topped with marshmallow's and whipped cream

Lemonade, Black Cherry, Orange or Chocolate

Lemonade, Black Cherry, Orange or Chocolat

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