[Photo: The staff at Kayla Renee Cakes showed off their creations between customers Tuesday. From left, Elydia Dilena, Kayla Lowery and Saleiya Lowery. (Ken MacDonald photo)]
By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Big things are baking at a little shop on Main Street: Kayla Renee Cakes celebrated its grand opening last month and has already seen booming business.
Cupcakes, cake slices, macarons, cookies and homemade pop-tarts, all made fresh right here in Raeford are just a few of the sweet treats on offer. The bakery’s custom cakes help make special events just a little more special, and a menu of flavors that changes weekly means there’s always something new for customers to try.
Since opening her doors in March, owner and proprietor Kayla Renee Lowery said she’s seen upwards of several hundred customers a day.
“Raeford has needed something like this for a long time. I’m so excited we’re here,” Lowery said.
Lowery is an experienced baker who’s spent years practicing her craft. Born and raised in Raeford, she earned a degree in baking and pastry arts from Sandhills Community College. She worked at the Bakehouse in Aberdeen where she became the head cake decorator, while running her own baking business out of her home.
While she was building up her client base, even bigger plans were on the horizon.
“I decided I need to branch out and get more experience,” she said.
Lowery moved to Wilmington, where she got that experience by managing a bakery. But she knew she wanted to come back home to bring something special to life for Raeford.
That dream came true a few weeks ago, when Kayla Renee Cakes celebrated its grand opening.
The Kayla Renee Cakes storefront is located on Main Street in one of downtown’s historic buildings. It’s just a few doors down from Home Food and Raeford Hardware, and directly next to the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce.
For many years the space was used as a bail bonds business, which wasn’t the right vibe for a bakery. With support from her family, Lowery got busy revamping the space.
“It took us three months of renovation to turn it absolutely inside-out,” she said.
The hard work transformed the storefront into its current inviting, blissful atmosphere. Lowery said she knew she wanted the bakery to be a place full of ambiance that would draw people in.
“I wanted it to be very trendy and very Instagram-worthy like paces you go to in Raleigh or Charlotte,” she said. “I wanted Raeford to have something like that.” A business where even people passing through take notice and say, “Oh that’s so cute, let’s stop,” Lowery said.
The bakery features a wide variety of all kinds of baked goods fresh and ready to go. The flavors on the menu change every week – she doesn’t like letting it become repetitive, the owner said.
“I like to keep things fresh. People get excited when you have something new and exciting for them to try,” she said.
A recent menu boasted key lime pie bars, fruity pebble macarons, red velvet cake slices, strawberry lemonade cupcakes and churro cupcakes among the many flavors.
The oatmeal cream pie has been the biggest seller, even since before Lowery opened her own brick and mortar store. The homemade pop-tarts have also been popular with customers.
The business offers many different cupcake flavors every day. Special items like wedding cakes, custom decorated sugar cookies and cupcakes are available for order.
Lowery’s personal favorite? The cinnamon rolls. They’re her “kryptonite,” she said, made fresh in the morning.
The downtown business community, and the Raeford community in general have embraced Kayla Renee Cakes with a big welcome.
“The community of Raeford really came together and welcomed us. We’ve been so insanely busy,” Lowery said.
The business owner expressed how very grateful she is for the response.
“We are so, so, so thankful to Raeford for the amount of support that we’ve gotten so far. Business owners around us have been coming in every day and getting stuff for their workers,” she said.
The business has proven so popular that Kayla Renee Cakes has seen lines out the door, and even sold out of baked goods on occasion. They’re working on hiring more help to serve customers, Lowery said.
Kayla Renee Cakes has a strong social media presence, drawing in customers from near and far. Her website offers information on how to order, what the business offers and pricing on various options. Right now it’s best to place cake orders online ahead of time, though “slowly but surely” they’re getting more help; eventually people will be able to walk in and order a cake, Lowery said.
To see what Kayla Renee Cakes has to offer, stop in Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. or Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The business is closed Sunday-Monday. The bakery is located at 107 N. Main Street in Raeford.
For more details on the menu, pricing and custom orders, or to contact the business, visit Kayla Renee Cakes online at https://www.kaylareneecakes.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KRLCakes or other social media. The phone number is (910) 479-3120.