A new Belton bakery along Main Street not only serves up some sweet treats, but for owner Zalina DeMasters-Benson, 37, of Kansas City, it’s also about using her craft to help troops.
The bakery, Butterfly Kisses Baking, in which she let her now 5-year-old son name, started in 2008, while still working full time.
Two years later, DeMasters-Benson began to commit more time to baking and started an online business.
“During that time, I still worked full-time during the day at a beverage distribution company. At night, I would come home and bake until 1:30 a.m. to fill orders,” DeMasters-Benson said.
“Finally, last year my husband said you had to choose one or the other or you’re going to kill yourself. It was scary idea to quit what I knew to do what I love.”
When a previous bakery tenant moved out of their building at 301 Main Street in Belton, the city’s chamber called her to see if she was interested in adding a storefront to her business.
After contacting the landlord, DeMasters-Benson said everything worked out perfectly and opened three weeks before Christmas.
“It’s been really neat and the people of Belton have been very welcoming,” DeMasters-Benson said. “When it fell into place so quickly, I knew it was meant to be.”
Like with her online business, DeMasters-Benson is donating 20 percent of all her proceeds to military personnel through a variety of ways. The idea was sparked after her sister became a military wife.
The program is called “Treats for Troops,” and DeMasters-Benson uses the funds she sets aside to pick up a soldier’s tab at a restaurant or store, as well as sending care packages to deployed military throughout the year. Customers can also suggest a soldier to receive a package on her website, butterflykissesbakery.com. The project continues to touch the baker’s heart as her brother-in-law is preparing to be deployed a fourth time this year.
DeMasters-Benson had a longtime interest in the culinary field, but never imagined herself running a bakery after graduating in 2000 from The Art Institute of Colorado.
“I really loved doing the baking part of it but I didn’t think of it as something that I wanted to go into,” she said. “But everybody does love dessert.”
The shop features a long list of 32 flavors of cupcakes and cake pops varieties – in addition to custom cakes, pies, cookies, brownies and their famous cinnamon rolls, as well as gluten-free and sugar-free varieties.
DeMaster-Benson rotates about five different cupcake flavors each week, and is currently emphasising winter flavors such as gingerbread, peppermint bark and triple chocolate fudge.
Baking is done at a commercial kitchen in the Independence Innovation Center, and decorated at the Belton shop.
The shop is open Tuesday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30-2 p.m.
Orders can be done online and DeMasters-Benson does offer free delivery throughout the Kansas City region for orders more than $65.
Butterfly Kisses Baking does offer several weekly and monthly specials. Through the remainder of January, customers can receive a free 16-ounce cup of coffee with the purchase of a cinnamon roll before 10 a.m.