By JEFFREY CULLEN-DEAN | Jun. 05, 2019 – 11:14 PM

JEFFREY CULLEN-DEAN / THE NEWNAN TIMES-HERALD
Jeremy Bolton, left, cuts a piece of cake while his wife, Traci Bolton, operates the register in their bakery.

It all started with sweet potato pie.

“My grandmother, who’s getting up there in age, she’s the only one who knew my great-great-grandmother’s recipe,” said Jeremy Bolton, owner of Bolton’s Bakery. “So she taught me one Thanksgiving, and from then on I made sweet potato pie. I would make them, and I’d give them to people. I never thought anything of it.”

Traci Bolton, Jeremy’s wife, gave one of the sweet potato pies to a coworker. One day, the coworker asked Traci if Jeremy would bake her wedding cake.

“He did his pies, and one of my coworkers was getting married,” Traci said. “I don’t know why she figured he could make a cake. But I told her, ‘I’ll ask him when I get home.’”

“And me being crazy, I didn’t say, ‘No, don’t do it.’ I looked up a recipe and baked it,” Jeremy said. “From that cake, people started calling for more – all because they tasted that cake.”

The Boltons said they didn’t expect that response.

“It was a very basic cake. It was surprising to me that I got the response that we got because it was just a vanilla cake,” Jeremy said. “From there, I started looking up more recipes and learning things aside from sweet potato pie. We’ve taught ourselves how to bake everything else.”

Jeremy said he never thought he’d be a baker. He has a finance degree and previously worked in sales. Traci had a 20-year career nursing in a rehab center.

Their baking operation was based in their home for the first three years.

While baking cakes from their home, Jeremy said he had a hard time realizing that he was making it as a baker. “As time goes on, you start looking at the things you’ve done and it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, maybe there’s something here,’” he said.

As more orders came in, Jeremy said he started imagining how his own bakery would look.

“I started thinking this could be a real possibility when I started thinking about how I wanted this to be,” he said as he gestured to the store on East Broad Street in downtown Newnan.

The Boltons said they wanted their bakery to be in a smaller town with a historic downtown area and their bakery would have a range of products.

“We wanted to do everything,” he said. “We didn’t want to be just a cupcake shop or just a custom cake or wedding cake shop. We wanted it to be a neighborhood bakery where you could get anything.”

“He kept telling me he wanted a bakery, and I was saying, ‘Okay,’” Traci said. “Our son graduated from West Georgia Tech and when we left the ceremony at the Carnegie, we turned around and came down this street. He said, ‘Hold on, pull in there. There’s a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window.’”

Traci said she couldn’t see into the building and had doubts because of its condition.

“I literally called the guy from the sidewalk,” Jeremy said.

“I said, ‘What are you thinking? There’s no way we can make this into anything,” Traci said.

The next thing she knew, Jeremy announced he was opening the bakery.

The Boltons live in College Park and commute to Newnan to operate their store, but Jeremy said, “We basically live here…. We just happen to sleep in College Park.”

He said one of the highlights of owning and operating the bakery is being able to play a role within the customers’ lives.

“You get to be a part of the all of the households. We get to be a part of these holidays because we’re on the table. How cool is that?” Jeremy said. “It’s bigger than just simply being a cake or a pie. The fact that I can make a cake and it can be the moment you find out if you’re having a boy or a girl, how special is that?”

According to Jeremy, several weeks ago a woman came into Bolton’s Bakery and almost started crying while ordering at the register. She told him her mother was dying from brain cancer and she wanted to bring her some comfort food.

“You’re talking about comforting someone in their final hours. I take pride in that, and I take it very seriously that we’re allowed to be a part of those moments, and that people come to see us with things like that,” Jeremy said. “That’s more than just a cinnamon roll.”