If you’re in a quandary about what to buy folks on your gift list, look no further than Dewey’s Holiday Shop at The Corner Table.
Yes, The Corner Table soup kitchen in Newton is hosting a retail branch of Dewey’s Bakery of Winston-Salem. A third of the sales support the local soup kitchen in their mission to feed hungry people around the county—including the backpack program that provides school children with edibles on weekends when school lunch rooms aren’t open.
Chances are you’ve seen Dewey’s temporary stores in malls and storefronts over the years. There was a holiday shop in Valley Hills Mall a while back. This year, the Corner Table’s holiday shop in is your go-to place.
I volunteered at the shop the other day, listening to the holiday tunes and surrounded by shelves of those Moravian Cookie Thins that have made Dewey’s famous. Since 2012, the company’s fundraising programs have helped raise more than $1.7 million for nonprofits and schools in North Carolina. Impressive for sure.
Over the years, the company has helped generations celebrate birthdays, weddings, holidays, everyday cravings. The secret? Making products in small batches with no preservatives, no artificial flavors or synthetic colors. It’s a winning combo that has made celebrities such as Oprah take notice.
The original “Dewey” was a man named Dewey Wilkerson who opened a bake shop in Winston-Salem in 1930, the dawn of the Great Depression. The fact that the company has survived and thrived says something about the quality of its products and the neighborly people who operate it.
Most area folks are familiar with the famous Dewey’s thin cookies. During the holidays they come in shapes like Christmas bells. The flavors are familiar to anyone who’s grown up within earshot of the North Carolina Piedmont: ginger spice, triple ginger, sugar, lemon lime, chocolate and some newer options: triple ginger, toasted coconut, salted caramel, Meyer lemon. And then there are the shortbread cookies flavored with cocoa, eggnog and peppermint. And don’t forget their savory cousins: cheese straws in classic cheddar and spicy.
Have I mentioned the freezer of Moravian sugar cakes and Devonshire coffee cakes? I’ve tempted myself, opening the lid to gaze at those flat boxes lying in wait, chilling until they make someone’s breakfast or coffee break special.
Volunteering in such as place would be torture if the stuff wasn’t already wrapped up tight in tins, boxes and cellophane.
I wasn’t there the day before Thanksgiving, when the “fresh” orders arrived from Winston. Yes, folks can place individual orders for the pastries and love feast buns and rolls that you find at the retail store at Thruway Shopping Center off Stratford Road. I’ve stopped there over the years to pick up some treats for friends and relatives. I was there again this past Saturday, in fact. Just to give you an idea of how popular that place is, I waited in line for 15 minutes to get checked out, meandering past their fresh baked goods—crème horns, cake slices, eclairs, cupcakes and bear claws.
I left the place with a bag full of goodies—for a friend, of course. The Dewey’s folks were giving away packs of cheese straws and, of course, my friend needed some of those too. I’d heard how their famous pink lemonade cake is to die for, I caved just so I could say I’d tried it.
Back at the Corner Table, dieters need not avoid the Dewey’s shop. There are non-edibles for sale to help the cause: hangable Moravian star kits for your front porch, raffle tickets for a chance at a free golf cart, gift boxes of handmade tea cozies and copies of my latest book, Going Plaid in a Solid Gray World—a collection of essays written for this column—with part of the proceeds going to the cause.
Volunteers can corral several items into sturdy gift boxes suitable for mailing or local gifting.
Indeed, Dewey’s is one of those rare American companies that has become a Carolina institution. They haven’t forgotten who they are: a quality bakery. They haven’t become too big for their britches, either. They operate only two stores in their home base of Winston and work with nonprofits such as The Corner Table to reach into area communities when folks have an extra hankering for something sweet.
By the way, the Corner Table will also benefit from on-line sales on the Dewey’s website. Use the promo code DewPart62 at checkout. This will enable the local food pantry to reap 25% of your purchase to help more folks right here in Catawba County.
---Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives near Newton. Contact her at email@example.com