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Make the Holidays Sweeter with Southern Confections

by Cody Moore, Photography by Melissa Donner

Jonesboro residents Brandon and Audra King opened the doors to their bakery, Southern Confections, in February of this year with the hope of providing the community with authentic handmade pies and Southern baked goods.

Audra, a native of Paragould, and Brandon, a native of Trumann, currently reside in Jonesboro with their daughters, Charleigh and Collins.

Aside from owning Southern Confections, Brandon runs his own art business, Brandon King Studio, while Audra works for St. Bernards Total Life Healthcare as its business development manager.

“Since opening the bakery to the public this year, I have found working two full time jobs to be slightly overwhelming,” said Audra. “Luckily, I have had amazing support from Brandon to help operate the bakery two days a week while I’m still at St. Bernards.”

Though Audra has been working for St. Bernards for the past 11 years, baking has always been something she has enjoyed.

“I have always enjoyed cooking and baking,” said Audra. “For me, my childhood is centered around memories gathered around a table, where the ones I loved most would eat amazing food, share laughs and make memories. Baking, for me, is carrying on the parts of my childhood that mean the most and getting to share those memories with others.”

Before Southern Confections became an official business venture for the pair, Audra recalls the moment she mentioned opening a pie shop to Brandon.

“I had been toying with the idea of opening a pie shop centered around my grandmother’s pie crust recipe for several years,” she said. “A few years ago, I sat down with Brandon on our couch, opened up my notebook of this idea and laid it out for him. He thought it was a great idea, because no one really had a pie shop in Jonesboro.

“Several months later, I made Brandon some hand pies and he went to social media with it. That was our first post, and we have been baking ever since.”

After the swarm of requests came in for Audra’s homemade pies, she needed a place to bake and keep up with the orders. Audra’s mother, Debbie Rose, would help her bake and deliver the pies to customers each week.

“We started out in my mother’s home in Paragould for almost a year,” said Audra. “We would take orders on Facebook and deliver the hand pies on Fridays. We would drive to Paragould after I got off work on Thursday nights and would work until about two in the morning filling orders for Friday pickups.

“The business continued to grow, so we started looking for a space in Jonesboro where we could begin baking.”

After the rapid growth, Audra, Brandon and Debbie decided to move their pie business into an official storefront, rather than just commissioning online requests. Southern Confections opened its doors to the public in February of this year.

“Jonesboro is home,” said Brandon. “It is where our life happens, and we want to do our part in making Jonesboro a better place to live. By serving, giving back and lots of hard work, we believe that our little pie company can eventually make a big impact in the lives of many here in Jonesboro.”

Audra, Brandon and Debbie all work together at Southern Confections, where they each take part in making each and every baked good from scratch.

“Many of our pie recipes are passed down,” said Audra. “My grandmother’s pie crust recipe is our pie crust, along with many of her pie filling and cheesecake recipes.”

“While I do bake, too, I often tease Audra that I am just her doughboy,” added Brandon. “I have gotten quite proficient at taking direction around the kitchen.”

Upon walking into the shop, guests will notice an array of hand pies in multiple flavors, along with cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, no-bake cookies, whole pies and much more.

“The must-haves are the Old Fashion Chocolate Hand Pie, our Southern Cinnamon Roll and our Southern Pecan Cobbler,” said Brandon. “Our hand pies are what we have built our business around, but it has been awesome to see new products we introduce … garner their own following.”

Crowd favorites for the holiday season have been the pecan cobbler, chocolate chess pie, pecan cheesecake and, of course, the cinnamon rolls.

Southern Confections is currently taking pre-orders for the holiday season, or guests can stop by at their own leisure and purchase what is currently being offered in-store.

“Getting to provide the people we serve with a product that is made from my own hands is one of the best parts of the job,” said Audra.

“The biggest compliment we continue to get is that our product ‘tastes just like my grandmother’s,’ or ‘that reminded me of my mother.’ For me, that is what baking is all about; carrying on the legacy of others and transporting people back to a memory.”

Though working with family can sometimes get tricky, the Southern Confections bunch is more than happy that they get to work with each other each week.

“It is awesome getting to work alongside my best friend,” said Brandon. “Knowing that what I am contributing goes into helping make Southern Confections a dream come true for Audra is all worth it.”

“Brandon and my mother are my favorite people in the world,” added Audra. “They are encouraging, problem solvers and extremely hard working. I’m beyond blessed to be on this journey with them by my side.”

As for the future of Southern Confections, Brandon, Audra and Debbie have nothing but high hopes.

“Helping my daughter’s dream become a reality is the most rewarding part,” said Debbie. “I only hope that Southern Confections continues to grow as it has over the last year and a half.”

Brandon says that it’s above and beyond what they ever expected to happen after his Facebook post of the strawberry hand pie that Audra made him last year.

“Our motto is ‘the best pie is a shared pie,’ so it has been truly incredible to watch our business grow essentially by word of mouth and our patrons wanting to share our passion with others,” said Brandon.

Southern Confections, located at 2704 Phillips Drive, Suite F, is open Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In 2020, the bakery will be open Tuesday through Saturday, as it will become Audra’s only occupation. To keep up with all updates and for more information on pre-ordering, find Southern Confections on Facebook or call (870) 212-1382.