Business Beat: Wedding cake baker diversifying with double-decker bus to serve cupcakes | Business Beat

Jennifer and Ray Phillips, owners of Calavera Cakery in Longview, are diversifying with plans for Red Bus Cupcakes, Ice Cream and More operated out of a double-decker bus.

Jennifer Phillips said she and her husband decided to expand into cupcakes from making wedding and groom cakes at the suggestion of a bride a few years ago. They launched Calavera Cakery about six years ago, providing cakes by order only.

She said she and her husband plan a Red Bus grand opening June 20, a date she hopes will give plenty of time for state officials to ease restrictions on restaurants now limited to operating at 25% capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We did not want a full-service bakery, so we kicked around the idea of a food truck,” she said.

They named the new business Red Bus Cupcakes because they bought a British-made bus in Boston and drove it Longview. They named the bus “Miss Kitty.” And once the business begins operations, it will sell cupcakes, cupcake sundaes and design-your-own cupcakes.

“You can choose your cupcake,” Phillips said. “You can choose your ice cream.”

A former junior high and college art teacher, she said the bus has upstairs seating for a maximum of 29 people, is air conditioned and will be available for birthday parties and other activities. They plan to enter the bus in Longview’s Sesquicentennial Parade set for Aug. 29 and at the East Texas Fair in Tyler in late September.

They plan a barbecue and live music for the grand opening, and are looking for a location to conduct it.

Gift shop to close

Amelia Bishop and her daughter, Mary Wood, plan to close State of Mind gift shop at 105 W. Tyler St. next’s to Deb’s Downtown Cafe by the end of the month.

“If we sell our merchandise sooner, we will close sooner,” Wood said.

“We both have other projects that we want to focus our time on,” she said, adding that she operates an online jewelry business, She said she and her mother, who is married to Longview Police Chief Mike Bishop, might sell the same American-made products that they carry at State of Mind through other outlets.

Wood said the decision to close the shop they opened in September 2018 had nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and related business restrictions.

Wood and Bishop are conducting a closing sale that includes merchandise such as tables, soaps, jewelry, candles, T-shirts and perfumes.

Wood said she enjoyed owning a downtown shop.

“It was always a dream of ours,” she said. “We were happy to be able to do it and be part of downtown.”

Office Pride turns 10

Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services of East Texas is marking its 10th anniversary.

David Stein, president and area developer of Office Pride of East Texas, started his franchise May 4, 2010, in Tyler, originally serving both Tyler and Longview. He said Office Pride has grown to 130 employees in Tyler and another 30 in Longview, and now cleans about 200 buildings or offices between the two cities.

Jason Mettler said he and his wife, Amanda, opened an Office Pride franchise two and a half years ago at 1501 W. Loop 281 in Longview.

Mettler said his franchise serves a region that extends beyond Longview to include Kilgore, Gladewater, Marshall, Gilmer and Henderson.

Carvana adds Longview

Carvana, a Phoenix-based e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars, has expanded service to Longview.

Founded seven years ago, Carvana provides a self-service platform for consumers to shop from their homes and get a car delivered to their driveways, sometimes as soon as the next day. Carvana said it serves 261 markets throughout the country.

— Business Beat appears Sunday. If you have items for the column, email to; mail to Business Section, Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606; or call (903) 237- 7744.

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