Friday, May 27, 2022

Love is the key ingredient at new bakery

Argyle resident Sharmon Walters has developed quite the following over her litany of delicious desserts. And for good reason — they’re fit to satisfy any sweet tooth craving, whether it’s a slice of cheesecake, cream puffs, banana pudding, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, or something in between. Her clients can be traced back over a decade to when she was taking orders from her kitchen, and they quickly lined up when she finally opened AshJenn Signature Desserts last July.

But no matter how many loyal customers walk through those doors, the ones who believed in her first were her daughters.

“I baked for Ashley and Jennifer all the time when they were little, whether it was cheesecakes or Reese’s peanut butter cup pies,” Walters said. Jennifer is now 27 and a family attorney in Plano. Ashley tragically died in 2013. “My dream was to open a bakery someday, and I was always going to name it after them.”

She added, “I can still hear Ashley in my head telling me, ‘You can do this, mom. You can do this.’”

Sharmon and Dan Walters at AshJenn Signature Desserts in Flower Mound. (Photo by Lynn Seeden/Seeden Photography)

AshJenn Signature Desserts in Flower Mound is that dream turned reality and a way to honor her daughters — especially Ashley, who never got to see the store open but was a catalyst to her mother realizing that life is too short not to chase your dreams. Located at the popular Lakeside DFW development on FM 2499, AshJenn is your new neighborhood dessert shop. It’s a place to stop in, have a seat with friends, family, and your kids, and dive into a variety of delectable treats ranging from mini pies and custom cakes to cookie sandwiches, cupcakes, cookie bouquets, brownies, and more.

AshJenn can handle the smallest order for one person to large weddings, events, and other catering needs where the goal is to ensure every guest’s belly is full and happy. And if you bring your dog by sometime, she may even have mini “Pupcakes” and “Doggone Good Cookies” on hand.

“My grandmother and aunt were really good bakers, and I always saw myself having a place like this,” Walters said. “I drove around Flower Mound for months and months trying to figure out where I’d go. I came across this space, and I really didn’t even know Lakeside very well at the time. But it’s been such a great place to be. I have one lady who comes in every morning for her coffee. We also have a lounge area with tables. I am eager to get to know my customers by name and for them to stop in for a mini-sized cheesecake as an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner treat!”

As you might guess, Walters’ journey to having her own bakery wasn’t a straight line. She spent 31 years at Southwest Airlines in Human Resources and cobbled together a pretty successful career. She and her husband, Dan, moved to the Dallas area in 1992, and she continued to work at the airlines while baking on the side. Owning her own bakery was a far-off dream, and nothing she was ready to pull the trigger on just yet.

But all of that began to change when Ashley was the victim of an accidental shooting.

She was only 21 years old.

“She was standing 15 feet away and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone; no one should ever lose a child,” Walters said. “She had just had a miscarriage on the Monday before the accident and had always wanted to be a mom someday. She had her entire life in front of her.”

Wrought with grief and the inescapable reminder that life is too short, she turned to Dan and said they absolutely had to open the long-talked-about bakery. She even told her director at work that her 10-year plan was to save up enough money to retire and chase her passion.

“Everyone at work was incredibly supportive. They knew what I wanted to eventually do,” Walters said. “So we kept saving as much as we could, and I kept trying to grow my client list with that plan in mind. But when COVID-19 first happened, the airlines began offering its employees early-separation packages. Since I had been there for 31 years, my offer was very generous. I couldn’t pass it up, so I retired in October 2020 and began construction on AshJenn by that next February. This place was just an empty shell with gravel on the floor, but I loved it. It was a great opportunity.”

Because of all those years of baking for customers out of her home, Walters had built quite a solid reputation and a dandy regular client list to boot. It didn’t take them long to make their way to her new shop, and with word quickly spreading, more and more people are slowly giving AshJenn a try.

“I want to continue to grow and do more catering,” Walters said. “It’s a great area, and I love getting to know everyone.”

For more information on AshJenn Signature Desserts, visit AshJenn.com or call 469-240-0404. You can also email them at [email protected] Or better yet, just get in your car and stop in for a visit.

(Sponsored content)

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