by Paige McKay, from the December/January 2021 issue of Eat Drink Mississippi
Pictured left to right: Lorey, Kim, Shelby and Anne-Marie at the Silo Square location of City Hall Cheesecake
What started as a small cheesecake shop nearly 10 years ago in Hernando, Mississippi, has since grown to three locations in North Mississippi and beyond with cheesecakes in coffee shops and restaurants around the state. City Hall Cheesecake is not just a local cheesecake shop, though, as owners Kim and Vance Daly aim to serve more than just cheesecake - they aim to serve their community and the Lord by way of cheesecake.
City Hall Cheesecake opened in 2010 in Hernando, and it quickly outgrew its first building. The then-owners moved the shop into their current Hernando location, a little, blue house on Commerce Street, and that’s where Kim Daly and her husband, Vance, came into the picture.
The Dalys have a homeless ministry in DeSoto County called Love Works 2540. For nearly nine years, they have taken in those who are homeless, or on the verge of homelessness, and walk through life with them to get them back on their feet.
“Once we get these people off the streets, our next step is to get them employed,” Kim explained. “Then we help with finances and, eventually, into a home.”
Through working the ministry, Kim realized that the most difficult part of the process is getting people employed.
“Vance and I prayed for a while, because we just needed a place where these people could find a job,” she said.
Around that time, City Hall Cheesecake went up for sale.
“City Hall Cheesecake was our favorite date night spot,” Kim said. “When it went up for sale a few years ago, we joked about buying it.”
Kim and Vance sat down with the owner at the time to see about buying it, but ultimately, they decided against it. But, that decision didn’t stick for long.
“We decided against buying it, but we sat on it and thought about it for about six months,” she said. “We even had a second meeting because we could not get it off our minds that we were supposed to buy this place.”
When Kim and Vance went in for that second meeting, they met a man named Larry.
“God used Larry to change my heart about everything,” Kim said. “We took him into our home and that was the first ‘yes’ we put out for the Lord.”
With no restaurant experience or baking experience, Kim and Vance bought City Hall Cheesecake in 2018 with the mission to employ those who come through their ministry, as well as other members of the community. Almost immediately, it began to grow into more than Kim could have ever imagined. Within the first year, City Hall Cheesecake opened a second location in Oxford, and they recently just opened a third location in the new Silo Square development in Southaven. Kim credits this growth to her leadership team: Anne-Marie, Lorey and Shelby.
“These three pump life into everything and everyone,” Kim said.
These women all stepped into the shop during different seasons of their lives, and City Hall Cheesecake ultimately became their home away from home. Anne is the leader of the Silo Square location, and City Hall Cheesecake found her when she needed it most. After struggling with drug addiction for several years, Anne went through a treatment program.
“The whole time I was in treatment, I prayed I would get a job that wasn’t a server or a bartender position,” Anne said. “The day I moved back home, my mom told me about a lady who had a cheesecake shop, and she asked if I needed a job.”
Anne went in for an interview the very next day, and she has been a part of the community ever since.
“The Lord used City Hall Cheesecake to save my life,” she said. “He gave me prayer warriors, support, accountability, and a family.”
Lorey, leader of the Hernando shop, also came in during a difficult season of her life, but credits City Hall Cheesecake for helping find herself again.
“Through Anne, I saw that there is another side to everything, how to find myself, and how to grow,” Lorey said. “I learned to love myself and how to love others.”
Shelby, lead baker and organization queen, entered the world of City Hall Cheesecake whenever she moved to Hernando from Oxford and was searching for a job. She handles ordering ingredients, baking, wholesale accounts, and custom orders.
“Shelby wandered in the shop on a day that I was overwhelmed and was praying that the Lord would send me somebody,” Kim laughed. “And in walked Shelby.”
These three, plus Kim and the 25 team members at all three City Hall Cheesecake locations, have cultivated a sense of community within their workplace, and by serving cheesecake, they are serving others.
“This place is about more than just cheesecake,” Kim said. “Cheesecake is a vehicle that we use to love people.”
City Hall Cheesecake serves cheesecake by the slice, whole cakes, and in cupcake form. They also offer keto and gluten free options, mini cheesecake bites, as well as ice cream, cookies, and “Doozies” - buttercream icing sandwiched between two homemade cookies. Flavors differ depending on the day you visit, but expect to find flavors like Butterfinger, Oreo, KitKat, Strawberry, Turtle, White Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Chip, and other seasonal flavors.
For hours at each shop, visit City Hall Cheesecake on Facebook or visit cityhallcheesecake.com.