J.Rae's bakery first opened in Fort Worth during the 2008 financial crisis, and it now comes to Dallas amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Audrey Dixon is bringing the brand east. Named after found Jana Howell, Dixon’s aunt, J.Rae's became a successful business with Howell's family’s support. Since, J.Rae’s has opened another storefront in Wichita, Kansas, and catered events such as Neiman Marcus trunk shows and a promotional event for the Rockettes.
Like her aunt, Dixon fell in love with baking at a young age. She spent summers helping at both bakeries and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in hospitality and restaurant management and business management.
Dixon spent the past five years as a senior sales manager for event catering at the now-shuttered Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, where she says she became used to the corporate life. However, like many this year, Dixon lost her job during the pandemic.
Dixon saw this change in circumstance as a blessing, an opportunity to pursue her passion.
Baking was “always in the back of my mind, what I wanted to do, but I just didn’t think it would be happening so soon,” Dixon says.
What kept her going was her family’s support and a tried-and-tested business model. The existing stores have done better than expected during the holiday season and customers from Fort Worth show excitement to see another storefront in Dallas.
“Overall, [my family is] just extremely supportive … every time I stress out, they’re just so calm and supportive,” Dixon says. “[Howell’s] been amazing as a sounding board, and helping perfect all the recipes. … She’s super helpful. She comes to town every couple of months to go over stuff with me.”
While Dixon says she benefits from her aunt’s advice, the founder gets to witness the transformation of her brand.
From the online presence to the storefront, Dixon is using her fine-dining skills to evolve the confectionery experience.
“She’s sticking to our classic look that we have, and then she’s adding some different things to the interior of our bakery with some places for the kids to take pictures with neon signs — she’s got her own modern twist,” Howell says.
J. Rae’s is set to open in February at The Pavilion on Lovers Lane, offering a simple menu including cupcakes, cheesecakes, cake balls and customizable sugar cookies sold by the dozen. Outdoor seating will be available.
J. Rae’s, 5600 W. Lovers Lane., No. 143 (North Dallas).
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