To Angie Gordon, baking is a bit like chemistry—you calculate and measure, weigh and blend. The Sweet Natured Treats owner enjoys that structured part of creating tasty concoctions for her customers, in part because it draws from the career path she once thought she’d pursue.
“Baking is a little less spontaneous than cooking, and I like that. It’s a chemical formula to some extent, and it can almost be like working in a lab,” said Gordon, who earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Kentucky. “But I’m not one to follow a recipe exactly; I have to make it my own. It can take two years of experimenting and updating to get one just right, like my brownies.”
After she completed her masters in occupational safety and health from Murray State University, the western Kentucky native spent nearly eight years in the insurance industry. She was always the “baking friend” in her group, bringing cakes and cookies to birthday parties and get-togethers, but it wasn’t until after she and her husband moved to Franklin in 2007 that she began seriously considering her own business.
When the opportunity arose to share Noi Reagan’s commercial kitchen and retail space in downtown Franklin, Gordon quit her job in August and started running Sweet Natured Treats from 120 West Main Street six weeks later. Now, she’s handling most of the daily operations at the site, though Reagan continues to use the kitchen for commissioned orders and to sell her cupcakes at Sweet Natured Treats.
“This was all a leap of faith,” she laughed. “I wasn’t looking to open a retail business in the first place, but this just fell into my lap. I love this quaint and quiet spot in Franklin, and I’m excited to make it my own.”
Though Gordon has had no formal training, she comes from a long line of bakers.
“My mom and grandmother were always big bakers, though they never did it professionally. Maybe it’s in the genes,” she said. “That really influences me. I want to make things my grandmother would have made. I’ve very committed to using high-quality ingredients that aren’t heavily processed.”
At her shop, the baker offers everything from decadent cheesecakes and cookies to unique desserts and breakfast bars. She’s created more than 30 different kinds of cheesecakes, including a chocolate-covered, brownie-bottom cheesecake that’s quickly become a fan favorite.
“I used to keep a running list of ideas that would pop into my head, combinations and flavors,” she said. “And fortunately, I always have willing taste testers.”
Though she opened a few months ago, Gordon already has a thriving wholesale business. She makes the cookies, scones, breakfast bars and gluten-free baked goods for The Coffee House at Second and Bridge (another newcomer to the downtown area). She also bakes the cheesecakes for Jason McConnell’s Red Pony Restaurant and Cork & Cow.
“I took a cheesecake to Jason’s house for a party two years ago, and everyone raved about it. He asked last Valentine’s Day if I’d make a special one, so I created red velvet for Red Pony. It just started from there,” she said. “I would really like to expand the wholesale business and other opportunities.
“I had a loyal customer base going in, and for that I’m thankful.”
For information about Sweet Natured Treats, visit their location on West Main Street or go to www.sweetnaturedtreats.com.
This is part of a series on merchants in Downtown Franklin. To read more, visit www.downtownfranklintn.com.
Posted on: 1/16/2013