Maddy D’s Sweets & Confections have begun preparations to open their first brick and mortar storefront inside a ground-level retail space inside the Courthouse parking garage along Adams Street. While large, urban mega-developments which have yet to break ground continue to make headlines, a growing number of mobile vendors have quietly begun to transform the pedestrian experience downtown.

Kealalani and David Baumann originally opened the business in 2017, selling custom cookies and confections through an e-commerce site as well as various markets around town like Jaxsons Night Market, Springfield Second Sundays and the Riverside Arts Market. The duo made a name for themselves by creating beautifully decorated cookies for birthdays, weddings and corporate events.

Maddy D’s now has found a permanent space to sell their custom deserts and an expanded menu inside Metropolitan Parking Solutions’ parking garage across from the Duval County Courthouse. The 1,375-space garage opened in 2007 and includes ground floor retail fronting Forsyth, Julia and Adams Street. Maddy D’s will join The Courtyard Cafe, Pita Pit and the law firm Robert Shafer and Associates as tenants in the garage’s retail spaces.

We talked with proprietor Kealalani Baumann about her plans with Maddy D’s soon-to-open Downtown storefront.

Before starting Maddy D’s, talk about your previous experience in the food service industry.

Both my husband and I have a tremendous amount of restaurant experience in different positions. My husband started as a bartender in 1984 and has since worked in the back of the house as a line cook and as a kitchen manager. My parents owned a deli of their own when I was born. I started as a waitress in 1998 and then learned bookkeeping for a few restaurants and was also a front of the house manager for several. We love the restaurant business and all of the ups and downs that come with it.

So after working in the industry for so long, what was the impetus for starting Maddy D’s?

Five Christmases ago I made a different cookie everyday for two weeks for a party we were going to have. I made traditional gingerbread people with royal icing as one of the sets. People were impressed with the art work and said I should be selling them. I then made some flower cookies for a garden club. People loved the art work again and commented that I should be selling them. I’m not a baker by trade, I love to cook and have a long art background. We spent over a year on trial and error to get our cookie and icing recipe to be just right! It was important to us that our cookies taste as good as they look and they do. Most of our customers are used to getting a cookie that looks great, but tastes like cardboard and are surprised by how good our cookies taste and feel. We can make any theme into a cookie and specialize in corporate logo cookies. We don’t use edible sugar sheets, everything is royal icing and by hand.

Besides custom cookies, what kind of product lines are you going to offer in the new storefront?

We currently focus on custom cookies and sweets. Our cafe will not only offer our designer cookies, retail cakes, and sweets, but we are going to branch out to ‘grab and go’ meals for people who want a fresh choice in to go foods. We will have sandwiches, salads, breakfast offerings, coffees, and rotating prepackaged meals for every taste. We are working on vegan and gluten free options too.

You’ve had some experience offering cookie classes. With the new brick and mortar space, will you be offering other services in addition to the retail operation?

We love to teach others how to use royal icing to decorate sugar cookies and will continue to provide classes at our new location. Customers love classes, they get at least a dozen cookies to take home with them and a skill that they can use at home for their next event or holiday. We will also be having some kid decorating events for all ages to come and decorate cookies. We are planning to build a ‘cookie bar’ where I will be decorating cookies and cakes for people to watch. I love to watch cookie decorating videos and know that so many other people do to. It still amazes me to watch people decorate cookies and we hope that our customers will enjoy watching us decorate!

What made downtown so attractive for your first permanent storefront?

We live in Springfield and it was important for us to stay in the Urban Core. We looked in Springfield and Riverside, but could not find a location that felt right. We think that the location near the courthouse is perfect for our concept of grab and go meals for busy working people that still want to eat right. We also love that there is parking all around us and it is free on the weekends and evenings.

Do you have an expected opening date, operating hours, etc?

We are hoping, fingers crossed, to be open in early February. We are planning to be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We plan to be flexible to the needs of our customers, so this may change after we open the doors.

Anything else you want to add?

The name “Maddy D’s” is a combination of our children’s names, Madalynn and Davin. We are a family run business and that includes our children. They are our best critics!

We are so excited for this next adventure and are very grateful to everyone that has helped us get this far. We couldn’t have done it with out the support of our community and friends.