No matter how families choose to honor their mothers this Mother’s Day, whether with flowers, candy or greeting cards, you can bet the staple item on the table will be a freshly-baked Mother’s Day cake.
Brent Holloway, owner of Sweet & Tasty bakeries and the Garden Room restaurant, is gearing up for his busiest day of the year — Mother’s Day. His decision to expand the bakery from his south-side location on Main Street, south of Pecan, to the new north-side site at Town and Country Shopping Center on 10th Street and Zinnia has proved a smart move.
Even in a location where other businesses had failed, Holloway moved forward with his plan to expand. “I had been trying to get this location for seven months,” Holloway said. “I wanted to draw the north crowd.”
The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth, according to Holloway. “I’m real big on customer service and quality,” he said. “The most important thing about owning your own business is to find good help. I have a very good team at both locations and allow my decorators the freedom to do what they do best.”
In a bad economy, both bakeries are keeping pace. “Families may be hit hard with the dragging economy, but they still spend on their kids’ birthday parties, quinceañeras, and particularly for their moms on Mother’s Day,” Holloway said.
The day is particularly busy for Mabis Rodriguez, Holloway’s head cake designer for the new Sweet & Tasty location. “Mother’s Day cakes have long been a part of showing our mothers how much we care about them,” Mabis said. “I enjoy creating something I know they’ll love.”
On any given day, Mabis arrives at the bakery around 5 a.m. to begin baking. “I don’t mind,” Mabis said, holding a freshly-iced cake and then sliding it into a box, leaving the lid slightly open. Customers gather around and peek inside several boxes to admire Mabis’ inspired cake artwork.
“I love it when people say I can be creative and do my own thing,” Mabis said. “It’s part of why I enjoy my job so much.”
Sweet & Tasty’s most popular items, not only on Mother’s Day but any day, are almond cream and mandarin orange cakes. “Plus we make five different flans, and the good-old traditional chocolate and strawberry cakes,” Mabis said. “We make our bakery items with butter, not lard, and offer a wide variety of cookies, like pecan sandies and the Mexican wedding cookies, pan de polvo made with pecans, and a lot more.”
For diabetic customers, or those who don’t want sugar in their pastries, Sweet & Tasty offers an assortment of sugar-free bakery items, such as sugar-free cherry pie, and vanilla, chocolate and apple cakes, along with three different assortments of cookies.
“This one [new location] is doing much better than I had anticipated in the beginning,” Holloway said. “Maybe I’m a control freak. I manage my businesses and do all my own bookkeeping for all three. I like to know what’s going on and stay on top of everything. I think people like that I’m involved.”
“Remember that Mother’s Day sweets should be whatever your mother likes most,” Mabis suggested. “If she likes tres leche, but the rest of the family likes marble chocolate, of course make it tres leche all the way. Or better yet, get both and make the entire family happy.”
So what is Brent Holloway’s goal for Sweet & Tasty’s future? “I want to keep adding new things like muffins and different kinds of pastries,” Holloway said. “Eventually we’ll have that all in. We’re just so busy that it’s hard for us to add new things.”
One of the bakery’s advantages among its competitors is that Sweet & Tasty keeps an assortment of freshly baked goods on-hand and ready for walk-in customers to purchase. “This is to demonstrate how committed we are to our patrons,” Holloway said. “It’s ready to go. All you have to do is come on in.”
You can reach Brent Holloway at one of his Sweet & Tasty locations by calling 956-668-7437 (north-side location) or 956-686-2253 (Main Street location).