Born and raised in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Gina (Gamble) Hollingsworth left home when she was 18 for the city of her dreams, Nashville, Tennessee. Gina’s love for the arts, family, and our furry friends started at a very young age.
Gina & Brutus her first love
Gina & her mom, Nelda
Mom, Dad, Jeff & Gina (Gina’s father passed away in 1987)
Sir Duke Hollingsworth (the first)
Gina & her big brother, Jeff
Pursuing a singing career was Gina’s first aspiration, but sometimes things have a way of working out for the best. When she was 15, Gina recorded a country album under a label that she launched, Shooting Star Records. The summer of 1987, Gina and her mom drove from town-to-town dropping off her records at local radio stations. She ended up charting on the Independent Country Charts with her first two singles, “Everybody Wants Love” and “Hard Knocks.”
Gina attended Belmont University, where she pursued her education at their internationally acclaimed Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business. She began working on prestigious Music Row and eventually became Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Troy Tomlinson.
Her responsibilities at Sony included coordinating hospitality for all guests, many of whom were well-known songwriters, top entertainers, and members of the media. Along the way, prior to Sony, Gina worked for Universal Music Publishing Group, Decca Records… etc. Many perks come with jobs in the music industry.
Her boss at Sony made sure that fresh fruit was available at the office, along with other snacks for clients and visitors. At week’s end, Gina would remove any leftover fruit and take it home where she used it to create pies, muffins, and other desserts. Come Monday, she would bring the sweet treats to the office.
After a while, people complained that she was such a good cook their clothes were getting tight. Gina started thinking - “What in the world can I do with all these apples?” That was when Southern Okie/Gina’s Southern Style was born, right in her kitchen.
About that time, Gina’s husband, Mark, accepted a job in Oklahoma City, so off they went to Oklahoma, which was a new frontier and one she knew nothing about. Her faith that God had something great in store for her was all Gina needed to hit the ground running. Gina and Mark knew it was love at first sight when they met. As you can tell, they both enjoy life to the fullest, and they love to have fun and laugh every day.
On a whim, Gina enrolled as a vendor at a local holiday market, and her gourmet apple spread proved to be very popular. Hoping to sell 20 jars, she was ecstatic when over 500 were sold! All the proceeds were donated to local charities in her community.
My very first vendor booth at the holiday market where I sold over 500 jars, which helped launch Southern Okie... and I was blonde for the first time in my life.
My first official Southern Okie booth at the Affair of the Heart show in Tulsa... I sold over 700 jars of my apple spread. Wow! Thank you all for the local support.
A year later, she founded Southern Okie, where she serves as president and oversees all the marketing aspects of her gourmet spread business. By partnering with a local manufacturing company, Gina has been able to expand her product line to include five delectable flavors – Southern Okie Pumpkin, Peach, Pear, and Strawberry, in additional to the original Apple.
In late 2018, Gina changed her brand name to Gina’s Southern Style. The same delicious products, the same great story, and all products are handcrafted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Stop by the store page and order a jar or two… let us know what you think, create a dish with one of the spreads, and send us your recipe to share on our website.
Gina's Southern Style 2018!
Newsletter Wholesale Fundraiser