PUNXSUTAWNEY — Questions have surrounded the closing of Ginger Snapped Cafe and Bakery in Punxsutawney since last summer.
Recently, paper covered the windows, blocking the public’s view of the inside of the structure and raising more questions. The cafe’s ownership changed, and updates were undertaken. Autumn Weaver, the new owner, said she wanted to make the changes quietly.
Previous owners Barbie and Zachary Hales loved the cafe, and said they were heartbroken when they had to close it. Weaver and her husband are friends with them, and had joked when Ginger Snapped first opened to let them know if they ever wanted to sell the business.
“When they closed, I think it was a private thing, they didn’t make it real known. It was hard for them. It’s sad. They put their whole life and soul into this place,” Weaver said. “I didn’t want to overstep and take it away from them, but when they said it wasn’t a possibility to open back up, I didn’t want them to watch it sit here bare, either.”
Owning a small business or cafe has always been a distant dream in the back of Weaver’s mind, so when the opportunity presented itself, she says she had to take it.
Weaver was an EMS worker prior to owning the cafe, and said that gave her little time to be with her family. Having to start a new business from scratch wasn’t feasible for her.
“I didn’t get a whole lot of time with my kids. When this opened as Ginger Snapped, we loved it,” Weaver said. “In the back of my head this is always something I wanted to do, but to actually have it happen... it’s one of those things.”
The willingness of the Hales to sell Ginger Snapped to her made the process easier. Though she is changing the name and theme of the cafe to make it her own, she is paying homage to its previous life with a drink called the Ginger Snap.
Weaver also bought all the previous recipes from the Hales, so town favorites, like the oatmeal raisin cookie latte, will be returning.
The cafe will now be called Punxsy Perk, and will celebrate its grand opening on Feb. 28 with music, caffeine, and “Friends.” Not just friends around Punxsutawney, but the well-known TV show “Friends,” after which the cafe is lightly themed. The new name is taken from the cafe in the show, known as Central Perk.