Winston-Salem has
always been a bread-eating, pastry-baking, sugar-craving kind of town. From
Moravian sugar cakes and cookies to the defunct Royal Cake Company to Borton’s
Buttercreme Bakery longjohns, tigertails and B&G handmade fried pies, the
city is accustomed to sweet treats making their way to the streets via
family-owned enterprises. That legacy spills over to Greensboro from time to

opening a retail bakery requires less equity than other brick and mortar food
businesses and is easier to start. Smaller bakeries can establish themselves
with specialty products, value-added activities and developing a loyal
following of local customers.

The baked-goods
empires of the today are mostly women-owned, homegrown and cater to clientele seeking
unique sweets with an edge.  Enter the
boutique bakery shop.

Boutique bakery shops

What sets
all three apart are the diversified offerings outside of appeasing the Triad’s sweet

“My shop is
not just a storefront for my cake business,” Danielle Kattan of Canvas Cake
Studio says. “It’s also a maker space of a different variety.” Along with a
full calendar of classes, the studio is available for customers to rent. Not
limited to cake decorators or budding bakers, she says, “If someone wants to
teach how to make a wreath, hand-lettering, bullet journaling, beading — there
are so many talented people in this area.”

The LoFi
neighborhood in Greensboro seems to attract an array of independent
food-centric businesses dedicated to handcrafted foodstuffs and fostering

Sage Mule,
owned by Janice and Steven Gingher, is surrounded by Greenway at Fisher Park
apartments, Crafted — the Art of Street Food and Preyer Brewing. The bakery and
bistro hybrid’s name is a pseudo-portmanteau of Greensboro: Sage, a shade of
green paired with Mule, another name for a burro.

The Sage Mule, which will serve breakfast and lunch, will open their doors on Oct. 26. (photo by Nikki Miller-Ka)

offering a full menu, breakfast and lunch, sandwiches crafted on housemade
bread,” Steve says. The outfit plans to serve beer and wine too, after they
open on Oct. 26.

John and
Lucia Bobby are no strangers to the Twin City culinary community. John was
formerly the executive chef at Rooster’s: A Noble Grille and Lucia Bobby is an
award-winning pastry chef. Bobby Boy Bakeshop was 16 years in the making.
Sharing a space with the Caviste Wine Shop, the pair plan to have “wine
dinners, tastings, events. A lot of cool stuff,” John says. The goal is to open
on Oct. 22.


While these
bakeries are not new enterprises, all are women-owned empires with humble

“I still put the
homemade taste in everything,” says Robin Shoemaker, owner of Kings Classic
Bakery. “I’m hands-on. I want to keep the same taste and the goodness they’ve
grown to love.”

For the past 18 years she has been providing layer cakes, chocolate eclairs and buns to fans new and old at the Dixie Classic Fair as well as from her home kitchen in King. Wishing to expand and capitalize on the boom of the Winston-Salem market, Shoemaker is ready to take the leap and continue the tradition of handmade cakes.

The neighborhood strongholds

What every
one of these independent shops all agree upon is maintaining passion and drive
to do what you love. Building a support system, fostering community and taking
your business to the next level when the time is right is integral to reaching the
next level success. Alex Amoroso and his son, Alex, Jr. are not new to its Gate
City fans but a second Cheesecake’s by Alex location slated for Winston-Salem’s
Arts District will bring a new face to the old neighborhood. Michelle Spell of
Ava’s Cupcakes has recently capitalized upon her appearance and eventual win on
the Food Network show, “Cupcake Wars.” With three locations in New Jersey,
Clemmons and Winston-Salem, she has nearly a decade of experience with no signs
of stopping.

“I believe
that a person who is unwilling to quit cannot be stopped,” Spell says. “I tend
to have very lofty goals and the courage to reach them.”

Who knows?
Maybe the diversity of talent and experience of each business will inspire the
next cake-baking, chocolate-tempering, flour-dusted entrepreneur to take a leap
of faith and open up shop.

Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.

We believe that reporting can save the world.

The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.

All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.

⚡ Join The Society ⚡