After they graduated from culinary school in December 2011, sisters Stephanie Criswell and Tiffany Haines decided Oak Ridge needed a store that sold fresh, homemade doughnuts and cakes.
So, three months ago, they opened Emma Lou Bakery and Cafe off South Illinois Avenue, next to the Oak Ridge Bowling Center.
On Wednesday, they celebrated with local officials and residents at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Besides doughnuts and cakes, the bakery sells pastries, quiche, and bread. Light lunches are also available on weekdays.
Cupcakes are one of the most popular items, Criswell said.
She and Haines graduated in 2011 from a first-time culinary program that was a joint venture between the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State Technical Community College. They catered for about a year.
But they also wanted to have a storefront, and they recognized that Oak Ridge needed a bakery, Criswell said.
She said business has been very good overall.
Criswell and Haines still cater, providing box lunches for businesses and catering UT events and weddings, for example.
“This is just a wonderful success story,” said Parker Hardy, Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce president.
Both sisters are married to Oak Ridge police officers, and both moved to Oak Ridge from California about four years ago.
Emma Lou Bakery and Cafe, named for Haines’ daughter Emma, is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
It’s located at 244A South Illinois Ave.