by Brandi Perry
Louis Campbell returned to Jackson in 1945 after being a cook and baker in the Army. Immediately after returning, he got a job at Jitney Jungle (now County Market) in Fondren, but he felt as though he would be happier working for himself. So, in 1962, he and his wife Jessie opened his bakery in Fondren, where it still sits today. Mr. Campbell instantly became famous for his teacakes and cookies, both baked fresh every day. Visitors can still taste both of these products today and, you guessed it, made following the same recipe.
Campbell’s Bakery soon established itself as one of the premier bakeries in the state, making from scratch cakes, cookies and their famous teacakes. For 20 years, he made cakes for weddings and other events statewide, brought smiles to countless faces old and young, but in 1982 he decided to sell it. Franklin Aldridge picked the bakery up right where the Campbell’s left off, and he was able to continue the bakery’s success in a Fondren neighborhood struggling to survive.
The bakery went through an extremely difficult time between 2002 and 2011 when they welcomed and parted with five owners in just a matter of 18 months. It looked like the news would come any day that the cherished bakery would be closing its doors. With the longevity of the bakery in jeopardy, Mitchell and Natalie Moore purchased Campbell’s Bakery in January of 2011.
The Moores understood the struggles the bakery had encountered, but as a pastry chef, Mitchell was determined to put Campbell’s back on the main stage of bakeries in the state and return it to its former glory. The first thing Mitchell did was bring back Louis Campbell’s original recipe teacakes and make sure his clients knew that everything was made from scratch. There is definitely a reason Campbell’s has been around for so long, and Moore has a theory to the longevity.
“I think Mr. Campbell gave the bakery the firmest foundation possible in his 20 years of original ownership. I can’t tell you the number of people who will see me in a Campbell’s shirt and say, ‘Y’all did my wedding cake in 1971,’or ‘69, or ‘65, or ‘82, on and on. That foundation served the bakery well during the next 20 years of ownership as Fondren went downhill,” Chef Moore explains. “That reputation saved the bakery when we bought it 10 years ago and tried to return it to the ‘from-scratch roots’ that it started with.”
Today, visitors can find a display case full of American-style sweets that are made from scratch. From brownies, cakes, and pies, and cookies, these daily creations are sure to bring a smile to any face that tries a bite.
Campbell’s Bakery was named the Best of Mississippi 2017 to 2019, Parents and Kids Family Favorite from 2015 to 2018, Best of Jackson 2015, 2018 and 2019, and was named Delta Magazine’s 100 Best Desserts in Mississippi. With accolades steadily being thrown Moore’s way, readers may be shocked to read what his answer was when asked what his favorite part of owning Campbell’s was: “Having kids come in for the first time and try something. The way they light up, that face is worth all the early mornings and late nights.”
Even after being declared one of the best and most storied bakeries in not only the state but throughout the southeast, Moore and his staff pride themselves on making the customer happy and delivering the best baked goods they can to them.
Even though the famous baked goods can be picked up every day of the week but Sundays, customers can special order any of their goods, including delicious and beautiful cakes for all occasions. They can also help you prepare for the holidays if you need pies, Christmas teacakes, Christmas petit fours, special cookies, special cakes or many other things. Please check out their social media pages, both Facebook and Instagram to get a look at some of the amazing products they have sold in the past. This is their busiest time of the year, so make sure you order well ahead of time to ensure they can get your product done in time.
Campbell’s Bakery has been around now for more than 60 years with no hint of slowing down anytime soon. When asked where he sees his bakery in the next five to 10 years, Moore’s answer was exactly what you would expect: “We might want to expand to have more of an online presence, but we are not going to change the way we do business or the flavors we produce.”
No matter what the future holds for Campbell’s, one thing is for certain, they are not going to change their ways just because it is easier. The bakery was founded on separating themselves from others by the way they prepare their teacakes, cookies and other goods. Moore and staff could easily start making cookies by today’s standards that would not make them any different than the rest of their competition.
Visiting Campbell’s is like a step back in time. Fondren grew and expanded around the historic bakery while they continued to hold to what works best for them. Customers will not be disappointed as they bite into a cookie or teacake that tastes as if it just came out of their grandmother’s oven.
Campbell’s Bakery is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. They are located at 3013 North State Street in Jackson. If you have questions about what cakes they can make for you, if they are booked for a certain day, or if you just need to place an order, please call them at 601-362-4628.
Remember, their freshly made products will not stand up to shipping, so everything has to be picked up at the store. For more information or to learn more about this historic bakery, check out campbellsbakery.ms.