Kristin Hope had a penchant for baking from an early age. You could even say baking runs in her blood.
“What really inspired me was my grandma,” said Hope. “My grandma used to bake for every single holiday. My mom learned from her, and I learned from my mom.”
When Hope finished high school, she headed to culinary school in Albany, Georgia to learn more about the baking trade. But her real motivation all came down to her grandma.
“My grandma told me, ‘If you can make this key lime cake the same way I do, I’ll give you my recipe’,” said Hope.
Hope eventually passed her grandma’s approval and got that recipe, but as is the case for many people, her life took some different turns along the way before landing back on her true passion. After a stint learning sleep medicine and performing sleep studies on people, Hope knew she needed a change.
“I really didn’t like it because I was away from my babies,” said Hope.
The night shifts and long commute were not conducive to family life, and one night Hope had the revelation that she needed to return to baking. From that moment on, baking became her focus, and in 2017, she and her husband, Shaun, opened the first location of Hope’s Kreation Bakery off of Highway 49, west of Milledgeville. After spending some time learning the ropes of business ownership there and at a subsequent location on N. Jefferson St., Hope finally found the place she wanted to be at 1825 N. Columbia St.
“I guess the rest is history,” said Hope with a smile.
HKB Sweets opened its doors in late October, and Hope is optimistic the new location will offer the kind of visibility her business needs to go to the next level.
Sweet items abound at HKB Sweets, including a variety of cupcake flavors, cookies, peach cobbler, banana pudding, cinnamon rolls, donuts and brownies. Hope also takes orders for specialty cakes for events such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and holidays. In the coming weeks, Hope plans to have an ice cream shop up and running inside the store as well. Frozen yogurt and milkshakes will be available, but they will be anything but run of the mill.
Said Hope, “We’ll also be doing the extravagant milkshakes with cotton candy, donuts, Oreos on top, and cupcakes on top of it.”
For those who wish to satisfy their hunger before indulging in dessert, there are plenty of savory options available as well. Hope makes three varieties of chicken salad: plain (with celery and onions), grapevine and pecan. Customers can opt to get the brown lunch box deal with a chicken salad croissant sandwich, chips and a drink for $6. Boxes are also available for dinner for $6.99.
Customers can also choose from a variety of pizza muffins made with handmade pizza dough. Flavors include ground turkey with marinara and mozzarella, pepperoni, spinach and feta and plain cheese. Hope also plans to add grilled cheese and soups to her meal options in the near future.
For those who are seeking a venue to host a special event, HKB Sweets offers rentals of their space for birthday parties, gender reveals, bridal showers and any other special event that a person wishes to plan. Those renting the space provide their own decorations, and the staff will work with you to accommodate the room set-up of your choice. Guests can opt for HKB Sweets to provide catering services for the event, or outside caterers can be allowed in the space.
Another offering Hope is excited to roll out are cake decorating classes for both children and adults. People can schedule a cake decorating party for a special event such as a birthday party, or they can sign up to take part in a class purely for the experience of learning decorating skills.
In the future, Hope plans to have Georgia College art students host paint and sip parties in her store. She worked closely with the GC art department in getting her new space ready, allowing the art students to custom design the murals on the walls of her dining areas.
As for Hope, she is happy to share her love of baking with her customers in any way she can. She continues to hone her craft constantly, using YouTube and Pinterest to stay abreast of new techniques along the way. It’s a labor of love that hits very close to her heart. Her grandma now suffers from Alzheimer’s, and although she is not capable of understanding her granddaughter’s success as a bakery owner, Hope likes to think she would be proud of how far she’s come.
“If she knew that I baked, she would be so happy.”