The crowd was thick as honey around Earlene Moore’s booth during the recent inaugural Downtown Farmers Market in Arlington.
The owner-baker has a 12-year record of success with her baked goods business aptly named Breads & Moore. But on this day, the entrepreneur was surprised to find her products quickly sold out.
“There were so many people, they couldn’t get to my table,” Moore said. “Some people even bought several baked goods. People just get excited about something homemade.”
It’s those bankable made-from-scratch baked goods — sweet breads, cakes, cobblers, pies and yeast breads — that are the key ingredients to Moore’s rising success.
Moore said her Arlington-based woman-owned company, which also is a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, is a result of a talent she didn’t even know she had.
Growing up in a small, two-stoplight town in North Carolina, Moore watched her mother as she baked for her family, which includes two sisters. She delighted in following in her mom’s flour-dusted footprints.
By the time Moore was 13, she was experimenting with and altering her mother’s recipes and those she found in cookbooks, turning out her own creative versions of Italian cream cakes, cheese cakes, carrot and pound cakes.
When Moore left home for college, she thought she’d never bake again. She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in fashion merchandising and began a career in retail management. In 1981, Moore, now 53, became a buyer for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service headquartered in Dallas. Married since 1988 to husband, Kenneth, Moore quit her job at the exchange service after almost 12 years to be a stay-at-home mom for their oldest son. That’s when she found time to take up her passion for baking again.
“I had to teach myself how to bake again,” she said. “I was in Texas, married to a Texan, and a long way from home. So I got videos and cookbooks from the library and taught myself how to bake.”
A friend at a local hair salon, the Hair Doctors, let Moore bring some of her tasty treats to the shop for customers to sample.
“They fought over the bread down to the last piece,” Moore said. “That’s when I got my business started. They sponsored me. They bought business cards for me and the ingredients for my baked goods and let me sell my products in the salon. That was 10 years ago. I’m forever grateful to them for giving me my start.”
Image from Breads and Moore