Students who have walked through downtown Clinton lately may have encountered the aroma of freshly-baked cookies and cupcakes. Walking along downtown Clinton, it is easy to spot a small and quaint blue and white house across the street from the police station.
This bright blue house was originally built in 1872 but above the front porch is a brand new sign that reads “Meme’s Bakery.”
Meme’s Bakery is the newest addition to Olde Towne Clinton. The front porch and home-like atmosphere invites customers in, and the smell of cookies and the laughter of a small line at the counter encourages them to step inside.
“The fun homey environment reminds me of what a small town cute bakery should be. Everyone is always so nice and welcoming that I believe they are going to build up a strong clientele,” said Ashley Dillard, a senior Public Relations student.
The owner of Meme’s Bakery is Theresa Smith—a “meme” to six grandchildren. The biggest sellers at Meme’s bakery are the brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and petit fours. They also have cupcakes, cake cups, cake pops, sugar cookies, iced sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, peanut butter cookies, and more.
The bakery also has gluten-free coconut macaroon cookies and will possibly include more gluten-free options soon.
Meme’s Bakery also does cakes, and Smith looks forward to making birthday cakes and cakes for parties for the community and for MC’s clubs, tribes, and other groups. The bakery aslo has free Wi-Fi and a deck behind the house where students can study.
Business has been greater than Smith expected for Meme’s ever since opening day on Mar. 8.
“It’s been unbelievable. Just more than I’ve expected,” said Smith. “The response from the college and the community has been unbelievable.”
Smith runs the store with help from her husband and some part time help. Smith said that her main goal for the business right now is being able to keep enough in stock because the bakery has been sold out of its treats on most days during her first couple weeks of being open.
Tara Lytle, director of the Main Street Economic Development, said, “When people started telling us what they wanted added to downtown that was the number one thing—a bakery. We had requests for a bakery even before restaurants.
“We are beyond thrilled to have a bakery downtown. And then to have a good one, and what they have done inside, it’s precious inside. I think she is going to do great.”
Theresa Smith is living her dream. She has worked as a financial and pastoral secretary at Parkway Baptist church for almost 11 years and often decorated cakes for friends and family for over 30 years. She quit her secretary work in December to be able to bake full time and get everything ready for the store to open.
“I always dreamed of having my own shop. I wanted a place where mothers could come and buy a cake with matching plates. All those years it just wasn’t feasible,” said Smith. Then recently the plans for Smith’s bakery started falling in place.
Her dream started coming together last year when a friend had suggested she start selling her cupcakes in downtown Clinton. She did not think it was possible, but the more she thought about it and the more she looked around the area, the more excited she became about the possibilities.
“It seemed like the timing was better. God opened some doors and He closed some doors. I’m glad he closed the doors He did. I was looking at this location for a long time, and I thought this would be so neat as a bake shop, but I didn’t think it was possible,” Smith said.
“There are not many places to choose from in the area, but I knew I wanted it in Olde Towne.” Smith and her husband eventually met with the owner and discussed plans. They saw there was a lot of work to do with renovations since it had been vacant for many years.
“It was a long process,” said Smith. “It was a lot of work. It took a lot to make the place look the way it does. The walls had to be repaired and everything painted. It was a lot of work, and we did it all ourselves. We finally said that we are opening Mar. 8no matter what. And we did. I could have prepared more probably but I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
Smith’s daughter-in-law is an interior designer and an MC graduate who designed the interior of the bakery.
“It looks great. Just the way I wanted,” said Smith.
Smith said that her favorite thing so far about the bakery is the response from the community.
“The people. The response. I still get teary eyed thinking about it, but the response has been great. The first day I had to stay in the back, and I didn’t like being away from everyone.
“But seeing everyone coming inside and enjoying themselves, kids sitting at the little table, and students sitting with their laptops studying, that has been my biggest joy out of all of it.”
Meme’s Bakery is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
– James Osborne, Contributing Writer