Photos: Diana Matthews | Story: Kennedy Petersen
“It’s an always come back place,” says Sherry the daughter of Freddie Williford, the current owner of Sherry’s Bakery, the local charm of Dunn, North Carolina. The bakery is just off I-95, making it the perfect pitstop, the perfect place to “come back,” as so many patrons do. One Floridian couple, well known in the bakery, makes a stop at the bakery each time they visit their daughter. The location, and the promise of the bakery specials draws in customers, like me, looking forward to a delicious start to the day. Walking in, I was delighted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee and donuts frying. I sat at the center of the shop with Sherry Wilfred to talk pastries. From the minute we sat down, it was as if I was sitting with a celebrity. A constant flow of locals, everyone from doctors to construction workers, noticed Sherry and stopped to chat.
As we talked, Sherry smiled at the story of her father buying the bakery, once a space with only bar seating, and turning it into the “Sweetest Smelling Corner in Town.” The bakery sees business from Campbell, Raleigh, and of course loyal residents of Dunn. A token of the bakery, the Wisdom Table has seen the community through transitions, deaths, births, and all the other facts of life, and remains a staple today of the community spirit of the town and Sherry’s Bakery. Sherry pointed out a group of men who stop by the restaurant daily and congregate around it – the new Wisdom Table. Sherry reflected on her father’s traditions. “He was a real people person,” Sherry said. She recalls him passing out donut holes when the tables were filled and patrons waited. Sherry tells each story of her family with a smile; she talks of her father and mother, Freddie and Mary Williford, and siblings Wendy and Fred. She describes Fred as the “business side of Sherry’s,” while she’s more of the “donut lady”.
As I left, I looked at the many desserts and morning treats. Like a kid in a candy shop, I drooled over the chocolate chip cookies, apple fritters (Sherry’s personal favorite), and all the best donuts: jelly filled, glazed, and more. As I gazed at the treats, Sherry came around the corner with a box of donuts and a cup of coffee. My box was filled with donuts of all kinds and of course, the customer favorite: donut holes. And let me tell you, these donuts are worth all the calories. As Freddie Williford would say, “Things are low calorie if they are off the bottom shelf!” So feel free to eat on!
Sherry’s Bakery is located at 122 N. Wilson Avenue in Dunn, NC 28334 and is open Monday – Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You may contact the bakery at 910-892-3310.
P.S. – March 3rd is now Freddie Williford day in Dunn, thanks to his involvement in church, the community, and of course his dedication to the perfect donut!