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Rugby baker gets retail presence

By Staff | Jun 5, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT Rugby's Jennifer Dockter (left) unpacks some cupcakes from her business, The Farmer's Wife Cakes, at Marsai's Bean and Boutique in Harvey.

Cupcakes, caramel rolls and other treats from a Rugby baker now have a spot in an area retail shop, and customers are coming from miles around to enjoy them.

“This is my first in-store presence on the retail front and being displayed in a bakery case in a store setting, so it’s really exciting,” said Jennifer Dockter, who owns The Farmer’s Wife Cakes in Rugby.

Dockter said her baked goods, which will vary each week, will sit in a glass case at the coffee counter of Marsai’s Bean and Boutique in Harvey.

“Today, we have a summer fruit cheesecake tartlet,” she said, placing small tarts decorated with strawberries and blueberries alongside her cupcakes. “We’ll eventually have cannolis and blueberry muffins-all sorts of different baked goods.”

Dockter unpacked her cupcake stock for the weekend in flavors such as peanut butter cup, s’mores, salted caramel and strawberry shortcake.

Misti Arnold, owner of Marsai’s Bean and Boutique, helped Dockter unload the treats into her display case.

“I bought 96 (cupcakes) yesterday,” Arnold said. “This morning, I had two left over, and they went right away. Then, (Dockter) brought four pans of caramel rolls and we’re down to part of one pan and one other.”

Dockter smiled and said, “We were going to start out really slow. We were going to do four dozen cupcakes this week, four dozen cupcakes next week and see how it goes. We sold both weeks’ stock within a few hours yesterday.”

“Harvey’s been amazing to us. They’ve welcomed us in,” Dockter added.

“It’s been wonderful,” Arnold said. “People have been calling and asking when (The Farmer’s Wife Cakes) were coming.”

Arnold decided to make Dockter’s cakes a part of her store when she opened the store earlier this month. Marsai’s Bean and Boutique features a unique mix of clothes and services Arnold refers to as “one stop shopping.”

“There’s a store in Rugby I like, Stylin’ You, with a hair salon, boutique and coffee shop,” Arnold said. “I just thought that was great, because I’ve always wanted to do a coffee shop. But I thought if you put it all in one place, what woman doesn’t like all that done?”

Arnold carries an assortment of fashions, roasted coffee beans, coffee drinks and treats baked by Dockter. Harvey hairstylist Deb Schmeets rents salon space in a separate room in the shop. Another room in the store offers nutritional shakes and teas.

“I was a little worried with COVID, but I think this is what they needed here,” Arnold said of the response to her store. “It just brought life back to everybody and a little hope and (encouragement) not to be so fearful. It’s been kind of nice. It’s been overwhelming for me. Everybody’s been great.”

Arnold said she started work on her business space just before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in North Dakota. She used K and S Construction, Tom’s Home Furnishings and other Harvey area contractors for the job.

“I did all local as much as I could, or went online. I didn’t go anywhere,” Arnold noted.

Dockter said, “Misti’s been a client of mine and we’ve touched base once in awhile. She had contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in solely supplying all the baked goods for her case and of course I jumped at the opportunity.”

Dockter’s cakes have attracted attention in North Dakota and throughout the United States. Last fall, she was invited to compete on a Food Network television show, but declined due to her son’s medical issues. “That’s OK,” Dockter said. “Maybe there will be another opportunity someday, but family comes first.”

As Dockter lifted the lids from four large tubs of cupcakes, customers passed by, trying their best to peer into the boxes without getting too close.

“I don’t have a storefront myself, so this in a roundabout way was making that dream come true, because it’s in a storefront,” Dockter said as she and Arnold began stocking the display case.

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