Gigi’s Cupcakes is expanding in Texas with its first location in Austin set to open in early 2018. The store, located in Bee Cave, will be owned and operated by University of Texas alumni and NFL star football players Brian Orakpo, Michael Griffin, and Bryan Hynson.

Orakpo, Griffin, and Hynson forged a lasting friendship when Griffin and Orakpo played football for The University of Texas between 2003 and 2008, helping to bring home a National Championship against University of Southern California in 2005. Orakpo and Griffin went on to play for the NFL and both ended up as Tennessee Titans, where they were first introduced to Gigi’s Cupcakes in Nashville. With an eye towards life after football, the two players along with good friend Hynson decided to look into franchising opportunities, and that is where their sweet tooth took over.

“When I moved to Nashville in 2015, one of the first things I was introduced to was a dozen of Gigi’s Cupcakes. Once my teammates gave me some, I fell in love,” says Orakpo. “Football players and cupcakes don’t exactly go hand and hand, but that’s what makes this so much fun. We’re family men and we know that everybody loves a good cupcake.”

“We are excited to bring a piece of Nashville to Austin,” says Griffin. “The city is growing rapidly with students, young professionals and families, which makes it an ideal spot for a dynamic cupcake chain.”

“We plan to leverage our relationship with UT Austin and give back to the community that has meant so much to all three of us,” adds Hynson.

Gigi Butler, the founder and culinary creator of Gigi’s Cupcakes, moved to Nashville in 1994 from California to pursue a career in music. At 15 years old, Gigi started Gigi’s Cleaning Company and continued that business once she arrived in Nashville.  For 14 years, Gigi supported her dream by cleaning houses during the day and singing late nights at the honky-tonks on Broadway. While she loved music, she also had a passion for the culinary arts and baking. As years went by, she decided to take a chance on baking. She took a huge risk by opening a cupcake boutique in a high rent area just off of Music Row on Broadway in Nashville on February 21, 2008—not far from the bars where she sang.

Soon after opening, Gigi’s Cupcakes became Nashville’s delicacy dessert of choice and eight years later, it has grown to over 100 franchise locations across the country in 24 states—making Gigi’s Cupcakes America’s favorite cupcake and the largest cupcake franchise in the country.

“These men are perfect candidates to bring Gigi’s Cupcakes to Longhorn Country,” says Gigi Butler. “I know all about putting muscle into a business in order to get it off the ground and it’s a dream come true to work with three men who share our passion, enthusiasm and work ethic that will ensure this store opening is a big win for all.”

Best known for its signature “Gigi’s swirl” of frosting, the bakery offers a variety of gourmet desserts, including 300 rotating cupcake flavors with sugar free and gluten free options, mini cupcakes, custom cakes, cheesecakes and stuffed cookies.

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