In January of 2014, Oxford natives Kelli Russell and her mother decided to open a bakeshop in Oxford.
“There was such a desperate need for a cake shop besides Kroger or Walmart,” Russell said. “I saw that there was a demand and a market for it … I decided to give it a go with the support and help from a lot of my family and friends.”
That year on Easter weekend, Russell’s vision was realized with Kelli’s Cakes and Confections. The store recently changed its name to The Cakery. Russell felt a more simple name would be better for marketing.
“It also really bothered me that I got credit for everything,” said Russell, who decided to eliminate her first name from the business. “I have a co-decorator and lots of talented employees that do a lot of the work.”
Russell, the owner and head decorator, grew up baking with her mother, but only considered a career doing it when she grew older.
“I have some experience in baking, but my passion was the art and creativity of cake and cookie decorating,” said Russell, whose favorite cake and cookie decorations are anything whimsical or cat-related.
The Cakery bakes and sells petit fours, seasonal pies, and cupcakes for order each day that are displayed in their cases, but they are best known for cookies and cakes.
The shop has several different cake flavors – from plain white cake to flavors like carrot, strawberry, marble, and even gluten free options.
“I love the old fashioned ways of using buttercream instead of fondant,” Russell said. “I enjoy the creativity of it. We work really hard, but we have so much fun up here, because we can be creative, and try new recipes, and try new ways to decorate cakes.”
The holidays and football season are The Cakery’s busiest times, unlike January and the summer when their numbers greatly decrease. Most orders are for tailgating, birthdays and various holidays.
This past thanksgiving holiday The Cakery sold 800 cookies in their four-day week, but a typical week is selling around 80 cakes and a various amount of cookies depending on the week.
“Since starting college, all my birthday cakes have been from The Cakery,” said University of Mississippi student Chandler Law. “I even picked up some cookies for me and my friends as a study break from preparing for our upcoming finals.”
Russell has 12 employees at The Cakery. Only the head baker and office manager are full-time employees. Cherise Garcia works there part-time.
“I was lucky to see that they were hiring and to have the opportunity to learn more as a decorator,” said Garcia, who has been working at The Cakery since April 2016 as a cake and cookie decorator.
“I never really knew it was something I wanted to do until I tried it and ended up loving it,” Garcia said. “I love the people I work with and the creativity of decorating cakes.”
The Cakery’s future is one with a lot of hope, and Russell is full of ideas. (In five years), hopefully we are still operating,” Russell said. “I would love to buy a piece of property and build a newer building. We would also love to eventually have a party room, offer decorating classes and cater.”
The lack of work space is the one thing limiting The Cakery from growth, but there are many possibilities for Russell and the business as long as Oxford continues to support The Cakery.