Meet Marie Payne, owner of Yummaries Bakery
What started as a college fund, ironically became a career! Mom, Kelly and her daughter, Marie always loved baking together. Even as a five-year-old child, Marie was already creating her own confections for the family’s “taster”, her father, John to try out. When she was 13 years old, the family decided to open Yummaries as a way to put some cash aside for Marie’s education. Little did they know that once Marie realized that she could make money doing what she loved to do – bake – there was no turning back. Marie attended Virginia Tech where she earned a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management through the Pamplin College of Business in 2014 which she promptly put to work at Yummaries.
When Yummaries began in 2006, it was as a booth at the Smithfield Farmers Market, where it quickly thrived, becoming one of the market’s iconic, “can’t miss” stops. But Marie had a larger vision for Yummaries, “After 12 years of baking for the Smithfield Farmers Market, it was just time to take the next steps and open a storefront. It’s truly our customers who inspired us. For years our customers have wanted a way to get our products during the week, and we are finally able to make that happen.”
Converting a building that served as a bank in the 1940s and print shop for many years into a bakery was far more challenging than the family expected with lots of hurdles to jump over and hoops to jump through. Through these long months however, Yummaries continued at the farmers market and offered pop-up shops.
Ashett Construction repaired and refreshed the historic building, and finally, the bakery opened in August of 2017 in the heart of Main Street in downtown Smithfield offering, as Marie describes it, “…every Southern-style treat there is! Layered cakes, specialty cookies, fruit breads, pound cakes, cupcakes, wedding cakes, breads, pies, muffins, scones, biscuits, cheese spreads, holiday favorites, etc. You name it, we probably have it. If not, we are all about trying new recipes and researching new treats for the shop!”
Yummaries offers over 50 types of cookies, muffins, scones, brownies, cakes, breads, pies, and more. Here’s a list of just a few customer favorites:
- The Apple Chocolate Chip Bread and Five Flavor Pound Cake have been the most popular fruit bread and pound cake since the beginning.
- The Cranberry Hootycreek cookie is a crowd pleaser and is packed with white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and pecans.
- A smash success are the Pecan Pie Bars. These bars include all the best parts of a slice of pecan pie and they are “delish!”
- With the new storefront Yummaries can offer more delicate items such as their layered cakes which have proven extremely popular! They usually have a selection of eight to ten different cakes that can be bought by the slice, half cake, or the whole cake. Caramel, Carrot, and the Hummingbird cakes have been the most popular so far!
- Last, but certainly not least, are their pig sugar cookies – a town favorite which have even been featured in the Daily Press and Virginian Pilot.
It’s a bit unusual to find someone so clear on their career path at such a young age, but Marie describes one of the reasons she’s so passionate about what she does: “One of the best things that happens at Yummaries is when folks try an item for the first time and it tastes like something from their childhood or that their mother or grandmother made, that they thought they would never be able to taste again. It’s awesome to see their faces light up when those memories come flooding back. The same thing happens with us too. It’s always really cool to recreate recipes that my grandmother and even my great-grandmother made and to keep those traditions going!”
Aside from the treats though, one of the best features at the bakery are the hard-working Yummaries Elves. Marie says there’s only one way to describe her team of employees, and that’s “Awesome! They were great about remaining flexible as we converted from a booth at the farmers market to a full-time bakery. Without them we literally could not do any of the things we are currently able to do. We’re an eclectic group of Elves, with everyone bringing their own strengths to the bakery – and it works!”
Yummaries is sure to become a “can’t miss” stop on Smithfield’s Main Street with its open-style bakery and shining, colorful displays. As Marie describes it, “First, you’re hit with the aroma of all the cakes, cookies, biscuits, or whatever happens to be coming out of the ovens at the time. People always think that we are probably used to the smell of freshly baked treats, but it’s the best.”
For Marie, already well on her way to becoming a successful entrepreneur and downtown merchant, “There is no better smell in the world than chocolate cake or bread coming out of the oven. Honestly it just never gets old!”