GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Kerry and Freddie Queen (on right) have run Queen Bee Bakery for seven years and eight months. Not that they’re counting. Every year, this scrumptious hometown spot wins “Best of Gaston County.” It promotes fellow local businesses, has the heartbeat of Mount Holly’s Main Street, stops by WBTV News with treats randomly, and personally, my kids love their cake pops.
Tomorrow, October 31st, is Kerry and Freddie’s last day to run the shop.
The GREAT news is that the couple with them in this picture, Sam and Dominique Robinson, are the new owners. They say they plan on keeping it as Queen Bee Bakery; same name, same vibe.
My first thought when I heard they were selling was if COVID drove Kerry and Freddie to get out. As we all know, it’s a tough time for local, small businesses. I asked Freddie directly if that played a role.
“No,” he said. “Not at all. Fortunately for us, with the outpouring of support from the community, we survived the shutdown through curbside services. We had family and friends volunteer their time to work, so we could lay off employees in order for them to receive unemployment benefits. It was what small towns are made of. Kerry and our daughter baked, while the rest of us ran orders to curbside. It was awesome how the community supported us, and we are eternally grateful.”
Freddie said they were “closed” for 9 weeks but did curbside every weekend. Now, he says, they’re back to fully recovered.
“We have a full staff,” he said. “And though it’s bittersweet, tomorrow, we get to pass the torch!”
Kerry posted about it on Facebook this week. She said running a bakery is just a physical toll and though she is grateful, it’s time to move on.
“It is with a heavy but thankful heart I make this post,” she wrote. “After giving all I have to Queen Bee Bakery, it is time for me to hang up my apron after October 31st. We have been blessed with the best customers and employees over the years and I am grateful for each relationship that has developed. We built our dream, and the bakery was and still is part of our dream, we will just be handing the aprons over to someone else.”
The couple taking over, the Robinson’s, are already business owners in Mount Holly. They run @Pop-Maiz-in popcorn.
“We ask that you please join us and continue to support them and show them they love that you’ve shown us for over seven years,” Kerry wrote to the Mount Holly community. “Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for the love, support, and encouragement you have given our family.”
I just kinda love this story. I think I love it because it’s not a small beloved business shutting down—as we so often hear about in today’s headlines—it’s about the business moving into new hands. And the former owners and new owners are all getting along and excited for each other.
Let me also say while I have a chance, Queen Bee has been fantastic to my family, even offering to host a book signing when I launched “Small Victories.” Some pictures from that moment three years ago, below in comments.
Doors are open 11a-6pm today, and 10a-3pm tomorrow, on the 31st. All the owners – old and new – will be working together to say good-bye and hello at the same time.
Good luck to Sam and Dominique in taking over, and to Kerry and Freddie in adjusting as they take a step back.