Cake shop owner credits her faith for success, taste
By Theresa D. McClellan
For The Star
The sweet smell of buttercream frosting teases your senses when you open the door to the Julie’s Cakes store in Missouri City’s Township Shopping Center.
Here you will find five-tiered wedding cake masterpieces and creative confections for the groom, surrounding the walls of her store at 3424 FM 1092. An NBA basketball, Air Jordan sneakers, an open ice cooler complete with fish in mid-twitch and a three-D deer head. Yes, they’re all models of cakes she’s made.
These are the creations of Missouri City resident Julie Clifton, the person behind the frosting.
For more than 41 years Clifton has been making the dreams of children and brides come true. The middle of nine children, she started at her mother’s knee in the bakery business. At one point all nine children had their own bakeries dotting the Houston area recalls Julie, who worked at her mother’s ABC Bakery before starting her own business with her husband Ron Clifton.
She was working for her mother when she met Ron. It was love at first sight, she recalls but there were delays before they connected. She crashed a wedding because she knew he would be a guest there.
She sat behind him waiting for him to turn. It was worth the wait. She was mesmerized by his eyes.
“Those brown puppy dog eyes, they keep him out of trouble all the time,” she said. “We love each other and we really like each other. Life is an adventure.”
He became her salesman. Engaging customers, enduring with a smile being called Mr. Julie. They moved to Hollywood for a while but returned to Texas where they had three bakeries until the economy changed in 2009.
That was a rough year. They closed their extra stores and Ron developed lung cancer. But Clifton, ever the optimist, only sees what she calls the blessings in her life.
“We’ve been around long enough to see the second generation of customers and we like that,” she said.
Viki Moore of Missouri City Texas is one of those long-term clients.
”Julie is awesome. She has seen my children grow through graduation, college and first wedding,” said Moore. “Julie is the one who makes that place work. There are a lot of good cake places out there, but you can always count on Julie,” Moore said.
There is an air of serenity at her business. On the counter among the pretty displays to make brides go agog, is a prayer book where customers write their prayers. Julie reads them at night and prays over them. She wants to add Ron to that prayer book so customers will lift him up in prayer. He is in hospice.
She wondered aloud about letting the public know. She doesn’t want them to think she is leaving the business. She has a connection with her customers who according the pages of the book ask for prayers for strong relationships or an ailing sibling or parent. There is one customer who started out angry over a product that didn’t turn out the way she wanted. Julie made the adjustments and introduced the woman to the Bible passage first Corinthians 13 verses 4-7; the passage frequently read at weddings tells how love is patient, love is kind.
Julie asked the customer to read it as “God’s love for you is” and in doing so it transformed the customer who wrote she had “a whole new insight” and thanked Julie for taking the time.
Clifton said she learned about love from her family and her husband how to treat employees and loved ones and to accept them. She learned to train her employees and makes sure they get the credit if a customer is raving over a finished product that she did not complete.
As she continues to grow her business, she also spends time with the man she loves and married 31 years ago this week. Find out more about Julie’s Cakes at www.juliescakes.net.