From the moment you step inside the Variety Bake Shop on the Square in Scottsboro, all bets are off. You may as well forget counting calories because this place is a wall-to-wall wonderland of irresistible sugary, yummy treats.
If the aroma of freshly made donuts, party cookies and homemade fudge does not get you, the fresh hot biscuits filled with savory sausage, country ham and thickly sliced tenderloin surely will.
“Everything we have is ‘Dee-Deelicious,” said owner, Sherrell Frederick, adding the extra ‘D’ for emphasis.
The quaint little bakery sports a welcoming storefront and even features a dining area for customers who like to sit and chat while enjoying their treats.
Each Tuesday – Friday from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m., and Saturdays from 6 a.m. – 12 p.m., customers line up at the door to place their orders for the day and catch up on local topics.
“We have regulars who come every day and they have become family,” Frederick said. “If they miss a day or two, we start worrying about them.”
Frederick bought the business in 2005 from Fred and Reba Castille.
The shop features numerous flavors of donuts, cookies, peanut butter balls, dipped pretzels, fudge and even burgers, BLTs and Grilled Cheese sandwiches for lunch.
“Reba gave me all of Fred’s recipes,” Frederick said, “and I’ve tweaked them over the years to make them my own.”
Her daughter, Beth Ward, is her right arm, coming in at midnight most nights to start the process of making dough.
Since the shop sells more than 75 dozen donuts a day in addition to scores of other items, it is a big job.
“I come in around 1 or 2 a.m. and help,” Frederick said. “We have a staff of four, but Beth and I are the only ones who bake.
“We start with over twenty-five pounds of flour, a gallon-and-a-half of water and some yeast,” she said. “We mix it for 15 minutes and let it rise for a half-hour.”
Once the dough has risen, it is divided into balls to make glazed donuts, Long Johns, filled donuts, cinnamons and twists.
“We also make apple fritters, donut holes and jelly-filled,” she said. “We make most of the fillings and icings ourselves.”
Among the shop’s bestsellers are the sausage rolls and party cookies.
“The party cookies look like shortbread cookies with frosting in the middle,” she said. “People call ahead and order them for showers, parties and different events. We mix custom colors to fit the event.”
Owning the shop is a lot of work, but Frederick enjoys it.
“I’m my own boss,” she said, “and I know what hours I have to work, but they are flexible. I meet a lot of different people and I really like that.”
One of her favorite things about the shop is making cakes for special events.
“I make cakes for showers, birthdays and just about anything,” she said. “I try not to do wedding cakes anymore, but the others are fun. I love to decorate with roses made from frosting. It calms me down and I can sit and take my time. I can use my own creations and fix them how I want to. My customers trust me to do a good job.”
She also makes custom pies of every imaginable flavor.
“I’ve had customers just bring me a recipe and say, ‘can you make this?’” she said. “I just tell them I’ll give it a try.”
Frederick said her business is not just about running a bakery. It is about family.
“When I first opened,” she said, “my mom, Rosie Wilborn, used to help me. She’s 75 now, so she can’t do it anymore. But my granddaughters, Emily and Caylie Beard, work here and they help now.
“I try to teach them about saving money for the future,” she said. “When they get paid, I tell them to take a little out and spend it, and put the rest in the bank so they will have a nest egg.”
Frederick also helps her brother, Hubert Campbell, who cooks and sells fresh pork skins and peanuts at First Monday Trade Day and Taco-Bet.
“We sell the pork skins here,” she said. “They are nothing like you will find in the stores. They just melt in your mouth.”
Caylie, soon to be a freshman at Scottsboro High School, enjoys working at the bakery throughout the summer and has a particular favorite on the menu.
“The sausage rolls are the best,” she said.
At that, Kendrick laughed. “They are always asking me, ‘Nanna, can I have this,’ or, ‘Nanna, can I have that?’
“Everyone has to have something they treasure,” she said. “For me, it is my family.”
The Variety Bake Shop offers cakes, pies, cookies, candy and cupcakes in large quantities by calling ahead, and the dining area is open to customers without reservations for small meetings or gatherings.
To place an order, contact them at: 256-574-2424.