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fulfilling a dream with fancy flour
story and photo by Shaila Creekmore

Upon first glance, Fancy Flour Bakery appears to be a trendy cupcake shop, but a closer look will reveal a full service bakery with ready-to-go items and custom design work. Opened by father and daughter duo Dan and Courtney Curtwright, the bakery has fulfilled a dream come true for Courtney while bringing Dan back to his culinary roots. Dan, the owner of D.C. Construction, worked for many years in various restaurants after graduating from Texas Culinary School of Arts in 1987. In December 2012, Courtney completed training as a certified pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St. Peters, Mo.

Courtney first started baking cakes when she was just 16 years old and began building her business from referrals from friends and eventually her Facebook page. Even while attending school, she would drive cakes back to Jonesboro for delivery on the weekends. After graduation, her at-home baking business began to outgrow her house and the Curtwrights began looking for locations for the bakery.

Dan’s construction skills came in handy when a former hair salon along a busy stretch of Nettleton Avenue was selected. “The traffic count is 18,000 a day,” said Dan. “It’s an amazing location. It’s easy to get in and out on Nettleton, but it’s still a high-traffic area.”

Courtney said the neighboring businesses have also been a plus as they bring in foot traffic.

“Being next to the kids consignment store, the trophy place and the spa has been great,” said Courtney. “Moms come in with their kids or people come in after being at the spa.”

To ready the location for use as a bakery, the entire space had to be gutted and a concrete wall was removed to take in space from the business next door. Dan constructed new walls to separate the space into a baking room, a decorating room and customer area at the front, added shelves in the decorating room and built a large, handcrafted wooden display case for all of Courtney’s confectioner creations. Along the walls of the bakery are dozens of old-fashioned baking tools, and the front window is draped with vintage aprons. “I went all over to find the things hanging on the walls – some came from grandparents – but I went to all sorts of antique shops and flea markets,” said Courtney.

After selecting the location, the Curtwrights had to select a new name for the business, which was originally called A Little Piece of Heaven. “I had a list of 50 names,” said Courtney. “My friends Shannon Wegner and Tonya Raglin had come up with the name Fancy Flour Bakery, and I just kept coming back to that name.”

In just three short months since opening the storefront on Nov. 13, 2013, Fancy Flour Bakery has sold an average of more than 1,000 cupcakes a week from its display cases, and more than 1,500 cupcakes a week when combined with special orders. Courtney offers 10 different flavors each week, which always include wedding cake, a chocolate based flavor, a strawberry based flavor and three new flavors that debut for the first time. Three different gluten-free options are included each week, as well. Courtney estimates that she has created more than 100 different flavor combinations of cupcakes. Each day the display case is also filled with cookies, fudge, brownies, muffins, Oreo balls, chocolate covered strawberries, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and various pastries. Other items available include cream cheese pies, mini pies and mini cupcakes that are perfect for a small treat.

One of Fancy Flour’s signature items is its gourmet caramel apples. Five flavors are offered each week and always includes regular, along with flavors such as turtle, snickers and peanut butter cup. Specialty cakes remain the foundation of the bakery, with as many as 45 cakes a week going out of the business. All of the cakes are custom designed and can range from a simple birthday cake to a carved cake of a child’s favorite animal. Cookie cakes are also available.

Now that the business is up and running, Dan has continued to run his construction business while also helping Courtney run the bakery. Courtney said they each work more than 70 hours a week between the two businesses, but that they have enjoyed working together.

“I always say I brought him back to the good side,” said Courtney. Dan does help with baking, but quickly admits the cake decorating remains Courtney’s job.

“It’s been fun to be back in the kitchen,” said Dan. “I do a lot of the toppers, but she does all of the detail work. It is such a blessing to not only help Courtney fulfill that dream, but to get to work daily with her to live that dream.

“Courtney is really great with the baking and social media. The fun part is I get to teach her how to be the manager and to run the business side. She’s done really great; I’m proud of her.”

The Curtwrights also have one full-time and two part-time employees who are learning all aspects of the business from running the counter to baking and decorating.

“We try to train them to do everything,” said Dan. “In a small business, you have to multitask.”

Fancy Flour Bakery, located at 2615 E. Nettleton Ave., is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 336-YUMY(9869) or visit Fancy Flour Bakery on Facebook.