Fayetteville landmark Rick’s Bakery is expanding to Rogers

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 4,691 views 

Rick's Bakery

The first attempt at expansion did not go well for entrepreneurs Rick and Sharon Boone.

The Fayetteville couple are ready to give it another try.

The owners of Fayetteville landmark Rick’s Bakery say they plan to open a second location of the popular bakery in Rogers. It will be inside the former Dixie Cafe restaurant in the Scottsdale Center retail district.

The Boones bought the 7,119-square-foot building at 4600 Rozell St. last week from Dixie Cafe for $1.3 million. It was financed by Arvest Bank, and real estate executives Alan Cole (Colliers International) and Doyle Yates (Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette) brokered the deal.

“We are finally taking the leap and we’re pretty excited about it,” Rick Boone. “[Sharon] jokes that we should probably be thinking about retirement and not opening up another store, but I don’t really have any hobbies or watch sports. I like business and I like to work, so it sounds great to me.

“It’s taken us a long time to get to this point, so we’re cautious, but we’ve got such a great team now. It’s a leap of faith.”

Boone said he plans to open the Rogers location in July 2018, which will create 50 new jobs. The bakery in Fayetteville has 67 employees, Boone said.

A design firm to lead the renovations of the Dixie Café building has not been determined, Boone said. The floor plan and the sizes of the two buildings are different — Fayetteville is approximately 11,000 square feet — but Boone said he wants the two locations to have similar characteristics.

“We’re very eclectic in our style,” he said. “That same look will carry through to the same store.”

Rick Boone opened the business as a doughnut shop in 1980. He was pursuing a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas, so it was only a part-time venture.

According to the Rick’s Bakery website, Boone planned to sell the business in six months and split the profits with his business partner.  After three months, though, Boone acquired sole ownership of the business and was its only employee.

Sharon soon stepped in (quitting her full-time job) to relieve some of Rick’s workload, and they went to work together to build the business. They fried doughnuts in the middle of the night until closing at noon, according to the website, then went door to door selling any extras to make money for the needed supply of ingredients the following day.

New menu items and services were eventually added, and while still in their late twenties, the Boones were running a company that had grown to five locations throughout Northwest Arkansas.

Despite the popularity, success did not follow, and they ultimately filed for bankruptcy. According to the website:

“Financial advisors, friends, and other bakery owners said they should not re-open but Rick and Sharon couldn’t stand the fact that they owed money and weren’t going to have it if they didn’t re-open. Against all advice, they stubbornly re-opened.  It took several years of hard work and sacrifice to pay off the IRS, distributors, and other vendor debts. They sacrificed their house and cars, renting for a while with the help of their parents. Rick and Sharon still remember the day that they received the letter in the mail that cleared all the liens against them.”

From those struggles, Rick’s Bakery has thrived. It’s been at its College Avenue location for 15 years, has become well-known for its breads, cakes, cookies, bagels and other desserts, and has a catering division.

The business is also a popular destination for brides-to-be. Rick’s Bakery has its own wedding department to help plan and design wedding cakes and other reception foods.

Boone declined to discuss sales or revenue figures for Rick’s Bakery. He said about the 40% of the business is dedicated to dessert design and decoration, 30% is doughnut and pastry production, 20% is catering and 15% is for weddings.

Rick’s Bakery is also the only officially licensed Arkansas Razorback bakery in the region.

Since 2015, Rick’s Bakery has provided its desserts through pastry counters in the deli department of a handful of Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Benton County. Boone said production of those products will be moved to the Rogers store.