At WBOY, we are looking at family-run businesses that span multiple generations in our area. These businesses are staples in the community, providing us with rich history from old traditions while looking to the future for new ideas.
Bonnie Belle’s Pastries is one of those staples in the community. It is already encouraging its fourth generation to get involved.
Family owners Patrick Hawkins and Linda Folwer explain what keeps these old traditions alive.
“Well I grew up in this bakery, just from when I was a little kid, and I learned it honest,” said Patrick Hawkins, co-owner.
Pat, Bonnie Hawkins grandson, carries on the namesake’s traditions now with his mom Linda.
Whether its cookies, petit fours or those famous white almond cakes, Bonnie’s recipes are still used more than 60 years later.
“Well the staple here is that white almond cake. That cake that we have and that we make every day is made with the same formula that Bonnie and Dick Hawkins started with,” said Linda Fowler, owner.
Also. what Bonnie and Dick started with all those years ago. the oven found in the Nutter Fort location.
“It is a revolving shelf oven. It is very very old and it still works very well but in the new addition we have a whole new line of equipment that will make things faster and easier and production will go up greatly,” said Fowler.
“I have a good business friend that gave me some advice and he said that any chance I had to automate and expand, do it now and don’t wait so we are making the plunge and put a big investment in but we are hoping it will pay off in the future and maybe some other locations down the line,” said Hawkins.
One of those new locations was made a reality a few years ago when the family opened its second location in White Oaks, but with all the new changes, one motto in the family remains the same.
“The one thing that we have at the core is that we all want the best for the business so we are going to do what is best for the store..bottom line,” said Fowler.
Now, Bonnie Belle’s is training its fourth generation.
“I like to wash the dishes..it is just like everyone is back here and usually all my family is back here and not out front,” said Sophie Hawkins, Pat’s daughter.
“She is a chip off the old block,” added her dad.
Just like dad, she has plans for expansion.
“I would take over out front a little bit then start hiring,” explained 7 year old Sophie.
From Bonnie’s hands now to little Sophie’s and all the family in between, the family behind Bonnie Belle’s is committed to keeping family traditions alive.