By Nita H. Satterfield
As we prepare for the holiday season and the year 2018, so many things come to mind. So many people begin to think of the hustle and bustle and the anxiety and tiredness they’ll experience. But others are filled with joy and happiness, remembering the true reason for this season: “The Birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Christmas is wrapped up in so many emotions. Even those who love the Lord Jesus and celebrate his birth with all the peace and love they can, even feel tired along the way, but they have found a way to balance it all to make Christmas a time of joy with their family and friends.
Amanda Fitzpatrick is a mom who is filled with the love and laughter of Christmas in many different ways. She is a single mother of five and the owner of Amanda’s Cupcakes in downtown Hopkinsville.
She has lived in Hopkinsville since 1998, when she moved to live near her grandmother who is still an active part of Amanda and her children’s lives. Amanda lives with her three daughters, and has two sons, Stephen, 26, and Christopher, 22, who are grown and have children of their own.
I went to Amanda’s Cupcakes, which offers much more than cupcakes, to interview Amanda about her life as a mom and owner of a small business, and to discuss her personal and business feelings about the most wonderful holiday of the year.
How do you feel about Christmas?
I love it for me, my children and my business.
How did baking as a business begin?
I’ve baked and cooked for 25 years, learning from my grandmothers. I always wanted to be a corporate accountant and got an associate degree in corporate accounting and a bachelor’s degree in human resources in 2015.
During this time I always worked in accounting. But two months after I graduated, I quit my job and began the process of opening this business. I love this business.
What foods do you offer at Amanda’s Cupcakes?
I offer all kinds of homemade desserts, including custom and specialty items. I serve three hot meals a day as well as sandwiches and subs, wraps and salads, ice cream, milkshakes, floats, marshmallow pops, lattes and specialty coffees.
What are the other specialty items you make and sell in the store?
I taught myself to do paintings both on canvas and glass, so I make craft projects for holidays and I make stamped notecards to sell.
Do your daughters help with the store?
My daughters Ann-Marie, 17; Rebecca, 14, and Raleigh, 13, all help some with the store. They each have one day a week and one chore to do for the business that day. They also help out after school if I get real busy.
Last year was your first Christmas with Amanda’s Cupcakes. What did you do special?
I had five or six Christmas trees in the building and everything was decorated. I wanted people to be happy when they came in the door. I had several events including selfies with Santa, pictures with Santa, and wine and gift-wrapping. I also offered last-minute gifts, ornaments and Christmas cards.
Were people mostly festive or hurried and stressed when they came in?
Most people were festive, and I feel like it’s my job to see they stay that way.
What was the most popular thing ordered for Christmas last year?
Coconut rum cakes and Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing.
Will you be offering anything new this season?
I plan to offer bourbon balls, liquor chocolates and perhaps bourbon Fudge.
Is there time to decorate at home too?
Definitely; it’s our family Christmas too and we love it. We have a tree and lots of lights all over. We decorate with baskets and candles and all kinds of little Christmas decorations. We all love Christmas.
What’s your daughters’ favorite part of Christmas?
First, it will be spending Christmas with their Dad this year. They don’t see him very often. Secondly, when they get back, the girls and I will head to Florida to celebrate Christmas this year.
What is the girls’ favorite treat that you make?
Raleigh likes red velvet cake or cupcakes; Rebecca likes carrot cake and Ann-Marie likes Dirt and Worms.
What’s your favorite treat you make?
Espresso Brownie Sandwich.
(You’ll have to go in and have her explain this one).
What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
Making everyone happy, the smiles and the sparkles of the season, watching my children open their presents and having my 81-year-old grandmother with them.
Any other family traditions for Christmas or the New Year?
We always open one gift on Christmas Eve and we watch Christmas movies. I close the business for the week before the New Year for family time.
How have the girls adjusted to their new home and your business?
It’s been hard, challenging and sacrifices have been made. Some changes have been good and some not so good. They are getting used to it. They love their big home and being in the middle of town. They love having friends over after school and being in a café with Wi-Fi.
How do you balance business with your children?
Delicately! We all spend a lot of time in the café. They do their homework here and we have dinner here together. We watch or go to movies on the weekends and I try to go to as many of their school activities as I can. You will notice on my takeout menu that it says “check Facebook for softball season hours,” as I will close the business and go to the game most days.
What is the hardest part of being a single mom?
There is not enough time to do everything I need to do. I have no one to back me up or give me emotional support when I need it.
Having surpassed your own expectations, do you feel this has influenced your girls?
Definitely. They have watched me take care of them, work full time and graduate from college. Then I went from nothing to owning and building up this business in one and one half years, basically by myself. All of my girls are crafty; one makes cards and one makes lamps. I’m trying to get them to put them in the café for sale.
What is the most memorable time or trip in your life?
In May 2013, my oldest son Stephen graduated from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He then went into Officers Candidate School. He is now a naval officer.
What is the best gift you ever received from your children?
After my divorce 13 years ago, the children knew how upset I was and they gave me a mother’s ring. They said they knew how much I missed wearing my wedding band. It was a very precious moment.
This is a trick question, but where does your family like to eat besides Amanda’s?
The girls pick Dos Bros, and for takeout, China King.
What do you like to do for down time?
I get up at 4:30 a.m. every day and begin cooking at 5. On a lucky day, I take a latte and drive to the lake to watch the sun come up. I lived in Florida and I like to saltwater shore fish.