Where: 5858 Anna St., Holy Cross, Iowa
Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday
HOLY CROSS, Iowa — It’s not uncommon for customers to feel like they should take off their shoes when they enter the new bakery in Holy Cross named Sprinkled Confections.
The business opened to the public this month at 5858 Anna St. on the south end of town and features a cozy, home-like environment designed by owner Amy O’Connell.
“One of my design features when I was building this was that I wanted it to be an extension of my home,” she said. “The biggest compliment is when people come in here and say, ‘I feel like I should take my shoes off.’ I love that because it’s what I wanted people to feel like. You wouldn’t say that walking into Target.”
O’Connell grew up on a family farm one mile south of Holy Cross, surrounded by plenty of home baking from her mother that piqued her interest.
O’Connell’s initial goal was to become a college professor. In 2009, she graduated from William Woods University in Fulton, Mo., with two undergraduate degrees in equestrian science and administration and a master’s degree in agricultural education. She later married a farmer and returned to her family farm, where they focused on agriculture and dairy.
In 2015, O’Connell decided to shift her focus more to private baking commissions.
“I had kids and decided my role was a little less on the farm, and I wanted something else to do,” she said. “I started baking, and since I’m artistic, I kind of went with it. I was just doing it out of my house for a long time before I decided it was taking over my house and I needed to move out.”
While O’Connell initially wanted to build the new bakery on the farm, zoning laws in Holy Cross wouldn’t allow it because it wasn’t zoned commercial.
“Iowa is very generous with their rules in regard to baking, so I baked under the Cottage Law for years, but I felt very overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I had,” she said. “I wanted to build on our farm, so I’d have my own workspace, but that wasn’t allowed due to zoning. I wanted to stay local since I have children, so I contacted Holy Cross and bought the last half-acre of commercial zoned lots along the highway.”
The construction started in December and was completed this summer. Sprinkled Confections started baking in August for private commissions and only recently opened for public sale.
The building features large windows to let in natural light, a self-service coffee bar in partnership with Bob and Lou’s Coffee, a place for people to hang out and work with Wi-Fi, a kids corner and get-together space.
O’Connell said she loves to teach and made sure to include a workshop space, in which she teaches baking classes and rents the space out for other makers for everything from lettering clubs, cheesemaking and flower arrangements.
The space also serves as a place to hold consultations for weddings because they are a large part of her business.
“I wanted it to be a statement piece — really clean, really simple,” she said. “I wanted this to be a destination. A lot of my customers are from Dubuque, so they come out and enjoy the drive, but I really wanted to create a destination.”