In our personal and professional lives, we often ask ourselves, “What is the recipe for success?” For Jessica Scott, owner of SugarDumplin’s Cupcakes, the recipe for success consists of four bakers, 17-hour days, one heaping cup of passion, and another heaping cup of gratitude for her Saline County community.
With a host of accolades and over a decade of serving up delicious confections to the community, the story of SugarDumplin’s begins like a classic romantic comedy. The story begins with Jessica as a Bryant High School student; she then lived in several cities across the region before returning home to be closer to family in 2009. She met her nextdoor neighbor, Chris, and they hit it off and soon became husband and wife.
“He was my boy next door,” explains Jessica. “Our business’s name is SugarDumplin’s, and that’s the name he called me when we were dating.”
Now married twelve years, Jessica began her career in management at Walmart. She received her degree in Business Management and began helping with bake sales at her local church, First Pentecostal of Benton. Jessica discovered her passion for baking and began baking more and more for her church and for the community.
With the feedback she received, Jessica decided to promote her baked goods on social media. Her personal cell phone was listed to collect orders, and after a year and a half of being a home cook, and customers inquiring about her storefront, Jessica decided to open a bakery.
SugarDumplin’s is located at 5407 AR-5 #12, Bryant, and occupies a 3,000-square-foot bakery complete with seating for guests and a chalkboard wall for kids (and kids at heart) to enjoy! With more than 150 cupcake flavors available, the team at SugarDumplin’s rotates 30–35 flavors a day.
And they don’t stop at cupcakes. Jessica, Chris, and their daughters Emily and Anna create an assortment of desserts including cinnamon rolls, brownies, Rice Krispy Treats, mini cheesecakes, cookies, cookie cakes, custom cakes, decorate-your-own cupcakes, and much more. That’s approximately 500 pounds of butter, 1,000 pounds of powdered sugar, and 2,500 eggs a month.
Emily’s specialty is cookie making, while Anna creates all the cheesecakes and helps with Rice Krispy Treats. Jessica creates the cupcakes, brownies, and cakes, and Chris does everything in between and delivers orders to customers.
One surprising twist in the SugarDumplin’s plot is that Jessica and Chris are not big on cake.
As a kid, she was more of an ice cream fan. “I like to try new things and love to try new flavors and combinations,” explains Jessica. “It’s like with our red velvet: we do white chocolate buttercream instead of cream cheese icing, and my family members test the new flavors for me.” With four grown children and eight grandchildren in Jessica’s family, there are plenty of willing participants in the SugarDumplin’s test kitchen.
While the bakery has been successful throughout the last decade, like many small businesses, Jessica and Chris have experienced their share of ups and downs.
With the onset of COVID-19 and economic inflation, SugarDumplin’s struggled. In the midst of that reality, Jessica shared her story on social media. “We shared with our customers that we needed them to come help,” said Jessica. “After that post, business tripled. It hasn’t let up since.”
The support of the community is one of the driving factors behind the passion Jessica and her family bring to SugarDumplin’s. “I do what I love, but it makes it extra special for people to love what you do,” she explains. “Sometimes you get frustrated, and then you get fifty of the most wonderful customers ever and they make it worthwhile. As a baker, you watch kids get their birthday cake year after year. I get to watch the kids grow up, too. I get to do their major event life cakes, and you get to know them.”
With all the support the community has provided them, Jessica and Chris make it a point to give back. “We love to give back to the community; we work with Second Chance Youth Ranch,” said Jessica. Second Chance Youth Ranch is an organization that provides homes for children and teens needing a safe and stable home. “We provide free birthday cakes for every child, and they get to customize their cakes. Some that come to Second Chance have never had a birthday cake, ever. We Want them to feel super special. We have always wanted to help foster kids. This is what we can do to give back.”
Jessica and Chris also donate same-day bakery items to hospital staff, firefighters, and police. “Our community makes us; without them we wouldn’t be here.”