“We see an opportunity, not just to serve a great cup of coffee or a delicious danish, but to make a difference in the lives of our staff and contribute to the support of our community.”
For nearly 75 years, Community Bakery has offered a variety of traditional cakes and cookies along with European pastries, donuts and local coffee. Owners Juli and John Brandenberger boast that the bakery provides the most delicious and delightful treats for people’s most celebrated occasions. “We had a couple purchase a cake for their 50th wedding anniversary. When they came to pick it up, they told us about the wedding cake they bought from us 50 years prior,” Juli remembers. “What an incredible history! This bakery does not really belong to us; it belongs to the city of Little Rock. We are just stewards of this institution for the next generation.”
Juli, an Arkansas native, returned to the state with John and fond memories of visiting Community Bakery. “This bakery represented my childhood that I couldn’t wait to share with him. It has always been a special place for me. What we’ve learned is this story is true for so many Arkansans.” Juli and John agree, Community Bakery represents something much bigger than the space the business occupies. John elaborates, “When I arrived in Arkansas sixteen years ago, I knew there was something special about this place. After spending the last three decades in the retail service industry, being a part of this unique brand has been a thrill and challenge. We are truly a COMMUNITY bakery and we love being part of people’s lives.”
They insist the secret to success is simple. “Build an amazing culture, create quality products and deliver fantastic service. Each of these goals requires intention, planning and resources. We are constantly looking for ways to improve these areas to better serve our customers.” It is the Community Bakery team that continues to comprise + cultivate this notoriety. “Our skilled artisan decorators, bakers and chefs have decades of experience. It’s a craft and each person brings something unique to their products.” This makes every creation special; the occasion and personal experiences are always important ingredients. “We’ve learned if we take care of our people – they will take care of the rest.”
It’s this perspective that inspires the company’s philanthropy – a tenure that is equally impressive. Established in 2019, the Community Bakery Giving Initiative officially organized the bakery’s long history of service beyond baked goods. “It was very important to us to maintain and amplify this part of our business.” Funding for the initiative is generated through a portion of profits, customer donations and the monthly sales of custom items for nonprofit organizations. “Each month we work with select organizations to promote and support their programs. This summer we are participating in the Centers for Youth & Families BrunchFest, raising funds for the Women & Children First Camp Hope Arkansas and promoting the Black History Walking Tours at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s presentation of the Smithsonian’s Green Book Exhibit.” Baked good and good deeds are the key ingredients to the longevity and success of this small business with a big heart for service.
270 S Shackleford Road, Little Rock | 501.224.1656 | communitybakery.com
1200 Main Street, Little Rock | 501.375.6418 | communitybakery.com
Photography by Sarah Oden