Enter the new Loblolly Creamery Scoop Shop over on South Main and you probably won’t find one thing that Christen Byrd hasn’t had a hand in helping with. Baker, event planner, photographer, social media wiz, balloon installations creator (yes, this is a thing!), wife, and mother of three- what can’t this superwoman do?
As Loblolly grows and changes, the Cabot native has adapted and flourished in the company. “While I have been the only baker in the kitchen for well over a year now, our needs are changing and I am currently bringing in more kitchen help. While I am continuing to bake, train and manage the baking side of things, I am also transitioning into the office side of things. My background in photography, design and planning has allowed me to start slowly taking on more of the social media, design, web and event planning duties to be more of a support to Sally [owner of Loblolly].”
Christen Byrd first got into the Little Rock food world by just helping a friend with her bakery, Sweet Love. “What started as a part time, short term gig turned into a much longer stay. That’s where I learned to make macarons. Sweet Love closed in January of 2016 and I started working for Loblolly in February. I have always loved Loblolly and from the outside looking in, it looked like just a fun place to work. And it did not disappoint.” Her interests go beyond just baking though. “I love to decorate. My house, your house, a party, a wedding…you name it, I’ll decorate it.”
As a mom, Byrd is aware of the struggles of being a working parent, but appreciates that Loblolly allows space for real life demands and embraces her family. “I like that my kids are proud of what I do. I mean, I work for an ice cream company…what kid wouldn’t think that was the coolest thing ever.” She also is “constantly blown away by the female chefs and bakers in Little Rock. There are so many and they are killing it!”
Byrd admits that she is a pretty good cook, but actually hate cooking because of how time consuming it is. “And it’s ironic because I make macarons which are one of the most time consuming and most difficult things to ever make!” Speaking of those macarons, if you haven’t had one, you’re missing out- Byrd says they can barely keep them in stock, they’re so popular!
While the culture of food service life be perceived hectic and daunting, Byrd says that working at Loblolly is different. “I’ve seen the people I work for making sure that their employees literally have basic needs met like food and clothing and shelter. The biggest thing, though, is that it extends far beyond just their employees. It’s great to work for people who go and serve prisoners and people in need throughout the community. They make sure homeless people that stop in for a drink of water are treated like human beings and not a problem to be brushed aside. These are the kind of people I want to work for and the kind of place I’m thankful to be a part of. And that’s why I love Loblolly.”
Well, if the ice cream didn’t sell us on loving Loblolly, Christen Byrd sure did. “There’s something for everyone because our ice cream creators make sure we have dairy free, gluten free, vegan options. I feel that Loblolly has taken on a life of its own since the opening of the new shop. There is just nothing else like it in town.” They’re also gearing up for the holidays, which means new macaron flavors (yum!), hot cocoa, and marshmallows galore.
Check out all of Byrd’s treats, along with the tastiest ice cream in town, at the Loblolly Creamery Scoop Shop, located on 1423 South Main Street. Their operating hours are Sunday and Monday from 11am-6pm, and Tuesday- Saturday from 11am-9pm.