Equality cupcakes stir Cupcrazed Cakery’s business

joverman@fortmilltimes.comApril 1, 2013 

— When “equal” signs started showing up as Facebook profile pictures last week as a symbol of support for gay marriage, Cupcrazed Cakery owner Heather McDonnell thought an equal sign on a cupcake would put a fun twist on the theme.

One of the bakers in her shop made the cupcake and snapped the photo, and McDonnell posted it online as the profile picture for Cupcrazed’s Facebook page.

“I didn’t even think twice about it,” she said. “I forget sometimes that it’s still so conservative here that there would be a negative reaction.”

There were some negative comments, she said, but also an overwhelming amount of support for the business and its stand for gay rights.

For two days last week, Cupcrazed had record-breaking sales days, McDonnell said. The shop was busier than in the days following their win on the Food Network TV show “Cupcake Wars.”

Customers came from as far as Georgia and Asheville, N.C., to buy the cupcakes, she said.

Nearly 200 of the equality cupcakes were sold and McDonnell plans to make them daily until the Supreme Court comes back with its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, the cases that were the catalysts for the profile picture changes on social media last week.

“We had people come in saying, ‘I love you. Thank you. This means so much to me.’ We had to just keep making more of the cupcakes and keep putting them out. It was two of our biggest sales days,” she said.

Not all of the feedback was positive. Some comments on the Cupcrazed Facebook page suggested that McDonnell shouldn’t mix business with her personal beliefs. Some customers said they wouldn’t be returning to buy cupcakes from Cupcrazed again.

“Hope to see your shop closing down soon due to lack of business,” said one comment.

The comments don’t concern McDonnell.

“I knew I did the right thing. I’ve said a thousand times if people are mad I think this way, don’t come here. There are other bakeries,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell’s spur-of-the-moment cupcake idea sparked news reports around the country, airing on local news networks as well as on CNN and on network affiliates as far away as Seattle, and appearing on Yahoo! news.

But publicity was far from the point of creating the cupcake, she said.

“It was just a decoration,” she said. “It’s not a racist decoration or a hate decoration, it’s equality. Equality should just be obvious. When you say the pledge of allegiance you say justice for all, all the people.”

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