By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
Once upon a time neighborhood bakeries sold cookies, plain sheet cakes with white buttercream icing and colored floral decorations, and a few tasty pastries and doughnuts.
At Federal Bake Shop, they still do.
The wedding cakes are white and frilly, the thumbprint cookies are fresh, and the petite fours actually taste good.
Owner DeWayne Ainsworth said that’s exactly the way it should be.
“We put the emphasis on taste and quality,” Mr. Ainsworth said. “We always say, ‘You can’t fool ’em but once.’ We want our customers to come back.”
Federal Bake Shop was originally part of a chain of bakeries started in 1921. The Chattanooga branch used to be downtown on Market Street and then moved to Northgate Mall.
Mr. Ainsworth’s parents began running the shop in 1974. It moved to its current location in Northgate Crossing 12 years ago.
Now, Federal Bake Shop is the last of its kind. The national chain no longer exists, and while one or two other shops that were originally part of the chain are still open much farther north, the Hixson location is the only one that still has a direct connection to the old company.
Mr. Ainsworth said that occasionally the shop will try out new items, but the staples remain the top sellers.
“Trends come and go,” Mr. Ainsworth said. “Our number one sellers are the same —; white cake with buttercream icing and thumbprint cookies. Actually, we sell more now than we ever did.”
The shop has 10 employees, four of whom are bakers (one part-time) and three of whom are decorators (one also part-time). Mr. Ainsworth said the shop can create any kind of special occasion cake.
“I enjoy baking. I like taking 10 ingredients in their raw form and compiling it and getting a finished product,” Mr. Ainsworth said.
E-mail Cari Gervin at email@example.com
Federal Bake Shop, 870-2255, is located in Northgate Crossing (behind O’Charley’s) and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.