Featured photo: Alice Garner holds one of her best-selling chocolate chip cookies at her second location of Garner’s Sweet Dreams in Martinez. Ron Baxley Jr./Augusta Good News
The signs decorating Garner’s Sweet Dreams say a lot about its owner.
“This girl runs on cupcakes and Jesus” proclaims one of them.
Less than a year after opening her first location in a mall kiosk, Alice Garner recently opened a second spot on South Belair Road in Martinez.
“I’ve always had a love for baking and cooking. After I medically retired from the military, I decided to start a business with what I loved doing,” said Garner, who served in the Army.
Her sweet dreams manifested in an Augusta Mall kiosk last July. The second location, which opened on June 13, is just a couple of storefronts down from the new location of Augusta Book Exchange and had its grand opening Saturday, July 1.
Garner said she chose both locations of her bakery because they are in high traffic areas.
The sweet aroma of her baked goods draws customers to her kiosk and to the counter in her store. With the coffee served from behind the counter, Garner offers a self-service coffee bar with Italian syrups, cream, sugar and sugar substitutes there for those who do not want the standard black cup of java.
Customers at both locations crave her chocolate chip cookies and banana pudding the most. She said they are their favorite and her best-selling items at each spot. And they draw customers back for more, fueling her success.
“I think that my faith in God, and my quality products keep my business thriving,” she said.
Not only does she believe in making quality tasty treats, but she feels customer service is key to keeping her business healthy.
“I believe that if you treat people right and give them a quality product, they will continue to come back,” Garner said.
Garner also has impromptu baked goods she introduces on a temporary basis at each location. Recently, she took an Asian-Southern fusion approach by creating a peach cobbler egg roll and pineapple upside down cupcakes. She’s also made sweet potato cinnamon rolls as well as the traditional pies, cheesecake sandwiches and Oreo Rice Krispies treats.
“If I make something, I usually post it on my social media pages, so people can see what I have,” she said.
Her business has gotten the attention of customers and the Georgia Business Journal. Garner’s Sweet Dreams was voted as one of the publication’s Best of Georgia 2022 winners.
In addition to her two locations to purchase treats, Garner caters birthday parties and weddings with her cupcakes, cookies, banana pudding and other desserts. However, she doesn’t bake full-sized cakes.
She said future plans include partnering with other small businesses to create synergy.
Garner has family support in her business as well. She and her husband have eight children, some of whom help with the bakery.
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