Southern Supreme (Bear Creek, North Carolina) is the quintessential small business. Guests find a bakery (with multiple baking stations along the tour) and a retail store that sells holiday fruitcake, nuts, candy, preserves, and fruit baskets, but to truly get a feel for this business, a visit is highly recommended. Plan for a half-day excursion as Southern Supreme is a destination rather than a site to pass through on the way to another place, both because of its location but also because guests don’t want to leave once you arrive. Once there, you will sample their product, take a tour of the kitchen facility, and then have an opportunity to browse the retail shop.
This family-run business modestly began over 30 years ago in a garage, and has since expanded approximately 10 times. The most recent modification occurred this year with the addition of a row of registers outside of the main showroom to help with flow, and they are currently a 30,000 square foot facility with 125 employees. The largest event of the year is the Holiday Open House, which takes place early October, for four days. The event not only launches the start of their biggest quarter, but it is ideal for travelers seeking colorful fall foliage drives. The drive between Bear Creek and Pittsboro is designated as Devil’s Tramping Ground Road, part of the NC Scenic Byway system, named by NC DOT for the legend of Devil’s Tramping Ground.
October is Southern Supreme’s busy time, through year’s end; they earn about 90% of their annual sales during the fourth quarter and they welcome more than 5,000 visitors. They make about 3,000 cakes per day during the busy season and although open year-round, the holiday preparations truly begin in August.
What’s the key to the immense success of their fruitcake, given that most people shun this holiday staple? Berta Lou Scott, founder and matriarch of Southern Supreme, says the secret is less fruit, more nuts. Staff members love to share the secret and you’ll have plenty of treats, including the fruitcake, to taste at the sample bar.
- 200K+ cakes sold annually
- Fruitcake cookies are the most popular item.
- Southern Supreme sells more than sweets. Find peppermint bark and sugar-free items and plenty of savory products too.