The aromatic smell of sugar and flour baked into deliciously sweet confections wafts through the purple door at 719 Eighth St., Baldwin City.
A stone’s throw from the Baker University campus, the brightly decorated bakery and sweet shop invites people in with a large window display of a Christmas village. Once inside, visitors are treated to the many silver and gold cake pans lining the walls — more than 90 in all — ranging in design from Winnie the Pooh to Darth Vader.
“I had always said if I could open any kind of thing, I wanted an ice cream store, just like a little sweet shop,” Trenda Garrett, owner of Bulldog Bakery’s Sweet Shop, said. “And then it kind of evolved more into the baking side.”
The sweet treats are the creation of store owner Garrett and her husband, Brian. The shop is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
The location was chosen because of its proximity to the university, which brings about 4,000 students into Baldwin City annually, as well as being in the downtown business district, Trenda Garrett said.
“We wanted downtown, and we were just lucky enough that this place was empty,” Garrett said, adding she wanted the shop to be a place students could come, relax, use the free Wi-Fi and have a treat.
The only one of its kind in Baldwin City, the small business opened in October, and since then business has been pretty good, Garrett said. People are starting to figure out the business not only is there, but also has some tasty offerings, she said. In addition to the range of themed cakes Garrett crafts, the bakery offers candy, cupcakes, muffins, ice cream, cookies and homemade soups. Among their more popular items is a crackle cookie, which is “kind of addictive” Garrett said, and comes in chocolate, lemon and strawberry. The most-requested cookie, she said, has a soft, gooey center that almost melts in your mouth. Cookies are her favorite, Garrett said, and she enjoys trying out new recipes.
“I’m a cookie person. I love to eat them,” she said. “I like to experiment with cookies. That’s what I like about cookies because there are so many, and you can experiment with cookies and you can add flavors and you can alter them.”
There are new and unique offerings at the shop on a weekly basis, she said.
Garrett, along with her husband, don’t have any formal culinary training. But after spending some time at a grocery store bakery and many years as a mom, Garrett said, baking has become a passion. Using old family recipes, suggestions from customers and recipes she and her husband find, the pair offer many things to satisfy a person’s sweet tooth. In the future, they said, they hope to add some options that will appeal to people with special dietary needs, such as sugar- and gluten-free options.
Even if someone isn’t going to buy something, Garrett said, she encourages people to just drop by for a visit.
“We enjoy people coming in,” she said. “Just come and see what it’s about.”