The newest franchise location for Burney’s Sweets & More will soon occupy the longtime former home of Tasty Bakery at 16 Northeast Court Square in downtown Graham.
Burney’s Sweets & More was founded in Elizabethtown in 2011 by Thomas and Doris Burney, according to the company.
The Graham location, which will be the 15th Burney’s Sweets & More store in North Carolina, is a franchise that will be owned and operated by brothers and Alamance County natives Michael Stokes and Page Stokes.
Like many of the other franchise locations for Burney’s Sweets & More, the bakery opening in Graham will also be a family affair, Page Stokes said Tuesday in an interview with The Alamance News. The bakery will be managed by his sister-in-law, Joanne Stokes, who’s currently training at another Burney’s location. “She’s run her own business, doing specialty cakes [and other baked goods; she’s got a knack,” he said.
Page Stokes, who lives in Burlington, is a franchisee for Dominos Pizza with seven locations. “I own all the Dominos stores in Alamance County.” He and his ex-wife are partners in the Dominos franchise, he elaborated in the interview.
The Burney’s location in Graham will mark the Stokes brothers’ first joint business venture, which they hope to open by late September or early October, Page Stokes told the newspaper Tuesday.
“We stumbled across Burney’s in Wilmington and kind of fell in love with it,” Page Stokes recalled in the interview. “One of the days there, I just Googled them.”
Next thing he knew, Page Stokes was on the phone with founder Thomas Burney – who by that time had about 10 locations, primarily in eastern North Carolina – and the seed was planted. “I kept thinking about what a great opportunity it would be to open a bakery,” Page Stokes said. “I’ve been into all the locations myself and met the owners and picked their brains.”
Page Stokes was a restaurant industry veteran long before he became a Dominos franchisee. “I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 15,” he explained Tuesday. “I started with Huey’s Bar-B-Q, became an assistant manager, and moved to Raleigh and worked for PYA/Monarch [a wholesale foodservice and supply distribution company].” He later returned to Alamance County, met his future wife, Brenda, and got involved with Dominos, Page Stokes explained. Their marriage eventually foundered, but their partnership in Dominos is still going strong, he said. “She’s pretty much the brains of that business,” Page Stokes said of his ex-wife’s role in the Dominos franchise.
The future home of Burney’s Sweets & More in Graham had been occupied by Tasty Bakery, which closed in July 2021 after 60 years in business. The family-owned bakery originally opened on Front Street in downtown Burlington, later adding a second location at Cum-Park Plaza in Burlington and a third in downtown Graham. (Tasty Bakery had also operated a location in Daniel Boone Village in Hillsborough for several years but closed around the same time that the Daniel Boone property was sold to a developer in 2018.)
Two years after its founding in Elizabethtown, Burney’s added a second location in Southport, and in 2014, sold the first franchising rights to two sisters in Clinton who were looking for a way to stay busy after retiring from teaching, according to Burney’s Sweets & More.
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Come to find out, what made Page Stokes fall in love with Burney’s – fried, glazed, and filled croissants – fueled its subsequent expansion to 14 locations throughout North Carolina, WilmingtonBiz.com reported this spring in conjunction with the opening of the newest Burney’s location in Leland.
“That’s what they’re known for,” Page Stokes said Tuesday. “They’re out of this world.”
“We thought the space in Graham was available,” he recalled. “People already know there was a bakery there; we’ve already had people stop in while they’re doing the upfit.” Graham businessman Chuck Talley, who owns the property with his wife (and Graham mayor) Jennifer Talley, are giving the building a face lift, Page Stokes said. “They’re cleaning up, redoing the walls. We have all new equipment coming in. We’re just waiting for them to get their part done – they’re trying to freshen it up a little bit. We’re going to put some paint on with our colors [as required under the terms of the franchise agreement].”
Like the other Burney’s franchises, the Burney’s in Graham will have a bakery case lined with cakes, pies, donuts, pastries, and, of course, glazed croissants, Page Stokes said.
“We will have some seating,” he told the newspaper Tuesday. “I think we’ll provide some outdoor tables, too, on the sidewalk. We’ll offer coffee, soda, water, and teas. We’ll have WiFi available for all of our customers, if you just want to come in and have a croissant and catch up on emails or something. Hopefully, we can bring something new to this area that people will like.”