When he talks of them, he gets a glazed look in his eyes and waxes nostalgic, as if he lived back in the days when people walked those concrete pathways and stopped to say hello.
As the new owner of Campbell’s Bakery, Moore says the community where he will now do business is just that kind of place. And he hopes his legendary cheesecakes will bring people to stroll along those sidewalks and bring business to this one-of-a-kind community.
The 38-year-old signed papers last week, along with Robert Lewis — a previous owner who still owns the equipment — on the decades-old Fondren staple. Moore says the acquisition is like morning to him: a brand new day full of possibilities.
His excitement is evident as he tells about the relaxing “sit and stay a while” space he is planning to create. With reclaimed desks painted in vibrant shades, sofas, mismatched dinnerware, and local art, Moore says Campbell’s will be a shining example of everything Fondren is. “We will be funky, we will be eclectic, we will be historic, we will be urban,” adding a trip or two to Orange Peel and N.U.T.S. is definitely on the to-do list.
Moore says the place has needed some TLC for a long time — and will get just that — as he is closed for the next 30 days (reopening March 22) to “bring it back to life.”
Gone will be the empty cases and drab decor and in their place, Campbell’s will become the inviting hometown bakery he remembers as a kid.
By day, cases will be filled with petit fours, cookies, cannolis, cheesecake, caramel cake, brownies, made-to-order cakes, and a newly introduced coconut cake — all made from scratch. By night, the vibe will shift to a relaxing after date destination for a slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee.
Yesterday, Moore sat at a table at Mimi’s Family and Friends and offered fresh baked chocolate chip cookies to anyone who came by. Mimi’s owner Jim Burwell and Moore worked together in the past and Burwell helped to “bring the parties together” for the deal. And coming together is what Mitchell Moore says is crucial about his vision for Campbell’s.
“It’s important for a community like Fondren,” he says, “to keep businesses that are open open. We feed off of each other.” Moore hopes he’ll be able to feed your craving for delicious homemade sweets.
And for himself? Maybe find a house here. With sidewalks.
“Yeah,” he says, “sidewalks.”
Originally published February 16, 2011