Instead, the couple, who have been married more than 35 years, turned their situation into something sweet.
The high school sweethearts opened Stanwood Cupcakes last October.
"We thought, 'Let's try it,'" Cyndy Thompson said.
Before opening their shop in Stanwood, the former administrative assistant and the magazine editor did their homework, visiting cupcake shops from Bellingham all the way south to Ashland, Ore. Convinced that cupcakes are a trend that's here to stay, the Thompsons sought the right location and fit for the community.
"What could we do to tailor it to Stanwood?" Cyndy Thompson said.
The couple decided to add ice cream and cookies to the menu, since Stanwood lacked an ice cream parlor. The shop offers 16 flavors of ice cream as well as Cyndy's chocolate-chip and snickerdoodle cookies. The chocolate-chip cookies, made from a recipe Cyndy Thompson has been using for decades, sell out every week, she said.
As the couple readied the shop for business, Cyndy Thompson perfected her cupcake recipes.
"I tried my recipes out on all my neighbors for about two months," she said.
Her husband also served as a taster.
"I gained some weight," he said, tapping his waist.
The Thompsons try to offer at least a dozen different cupcake flavors daily, swapping in seasonal varieties. Blueberry velvet crumb cake is the new flavor for August, joining favorites including red velvet, carrot cake, lemon drop and salted caramel. Two of the more popular flavors at Stanwood Cupcakes are the chocolate with peanut butter mousse frosting and the S'mores cupcake.
Stanwood Cupcakes offers an angel food cupcake, which Cyndy Thompson believes is unique among cupcake shops in the region.
Since opening 10 months ago, the shop's average daily sales have been increasing on a steady basis, Cyndy Thompson said. Ice cream sales have given the shop a boost this summer, but cupcakes remain the bulk of the business.
Special events are a growing part of Stanwood Cupcakes' business. Last weekend, the cupcake shop filled orders for 24 dozen cupcakes for weddings, anniversary and birthday parties.
"We have loads of special orders," Cyndy Thompson said.
On a typical day, Cyndy Thompson starts baking at 7 a.m. and has about 150 cupcakes ready by the time the shop opens at 10. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer.
But the long hours haven't lessened the Thompsons' enthusiasm for their business.
"We want to be able to have this shop for 10 years and then retire," Cyndy Thompson said. By then, her husband said, both Thompsons will be nearly 70 years old.
Yet, "I think I've wanted to open a shop all my life," Cyndy Thompson said.
Bake me a cake
8719 271st St. NW, Stanwood;