Three Best Bakery on the Courthouse Square in Benton came about not only through a love for baking, but also through the desire to spend time and share life with friends. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Colorado native Suzanne Godbold earned her degree in cardiopulmonary care and used her skills caring for patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as a Respiratory Therapist. It was during those college years that Suzanne started baking pies for family holiday gatherings. “My mom has a Betty Crocker cookbook she got in the 60’s that has an amazing apple pie recipe with illustrations on how to create beautiful pie crusts. That was really the beginning of my interest in making beautiful desserts.”
For Suzanne and her two best friends, Chelsea Cook and Sara Long, life was busy with full-time jobs and kids, but the three friends were committed to spending time together despite the demands that come with being a young wife, parent and employee. “We were looking for something we could do together to intentionally fellowship with each other, when the idea came up to learn how to decorate cookies,” recalls Suzanne.
So, the three would-be bakers dug their heels in and learned to create beautifully decorated cookies. “It was something that came fairly naturally to me and I wanted to practice and create all the time,” says Suzanne. They first started making cookies for family and close friends, but before long, the desire to just hang out with friends turned into a viable business and Three Best Bakery was born.
In 2019 the trio decided to open a storefront. But as with all things, businesses, too, ebb and flow. “When it was time to open a storefront, we decided that having a sole owner instead of three would be the best plan. Sara took a job in another state, but Chelsea continues to work for the company as our Director of Business. Although we no longer have three owners, I decided to keep our name and story alive,” Suzanne says.
Baking is an art form and what she loves the most about baking is that it uses both sides of her brain. “The scientist in me loves the chemistry involved in the baking process, and the artist in me loves the creative process of making edible art.”
Decorated sugar cookies are the specialty item at Three Best Bakery. Suzanne says she has spent countless hours and late nights working to perfect them. As important as the design and picture-perfect decoration is the taste. Suzanne bakes a soft sugar cookie with royal icing that almost melts in your mouth. “Beautiful, decorated cookies should absolutely be delicious, and I’m so happy with the recipe that I’ve created.” Decoration and taste go hand in hand and it’s a combination that can be hard to achieve. But Three Best Bakery does not shy away from custom orders. Suzanne’s innovative personality loves the challenge of taking a customer’s vision and creating the perfect cookie to compliment any occasion.
Although cookies are Suzanne’s “sweet spot,” you might say, Three Best Bakery offers a wide variety of baked goods to satisfy the most discriminating palate including cupcakes, brownies, a mix of cookies, mini-cheesecakes, and even the occasional ham and cheese scone. From birthdays and weddings, to bachelorette parties and company branding, Three Best Bakery can create whatever you have in mind for your special moment.
In addition to their in-house products, Suzanne is getting ready to roll out a new product unofficially named Sunshine boxes, curated cookie gift boxes shipped directly to friends and loved ones. They will include options for lots of occasions, such as “I Love You,” “I Miss You,” Good Luck,” “Happy Birthday,” and others! Boxes will include their signature cookies, decorated cookies, a card and other extras.
2020 has been a challenge for many small businesses, including bakeries, but Suzanne will be quick to tell you that she has the best customers who are now regulars in the bakery. “We have such an amazing community here in Saline County. I feel so lucky to be able to be in the heart of downtown Benton where I get to meet so many different people,” Suzanne says. The effects of COVID have forced the bakery to only open one day a week for now, but she looks forward to opening back up full-time and selling out the case every day of the week like she did back in February. “People have been so amazing and supportive of my business during this difficult time.”
Currently the bakery storefront is open on Fridays from 9am-7:30pm, but customers can place orders through the website, www.threebestbakery.com. The website offers a wide variety of baked goods, but you can also find greeting cards, candles and even decorating supplies for the do-it-yourselfer!