Although the shop seems simple at first sight, there is much more behind the desserts that fill the display cases of Chestnut Hill Bakery than just the baking process.
The bakery has been providing sweet treats since 1968, but only recently did the shop come under the ownership of Richard and Glenda Hinkley, who purchased the store in April of 2011.
In addition to their other jobs — Glenda Hinkley as a part-time teacher for Lynchburg City Schools and Richard Hinkley as chief of the Liberty University Police Department — the two also work to produce the desserts that are made daily from scratch.
“(It) seems to be the standing joke that not too many bakeries are run by cops, but we have a blast with it,” Richard Hinkley said.
As they took over Chestnut Hill, Richard and Glenda Hinkley wanted to keep the essence of the bakery the same, according to Richard Hinkley. They kept all the original desserts offered since 1968 and even had their distributor chemically match ingredients that had been discontinued.
“It made no sense to change the recipes … because obviously, since 1968, the place obviously has done something,” Richard Hinkley said.
But in addition to ensuring the same quality of products previously produced, Richard and Glenda Hinkley also brought some new desserts to the bakery.
According to Glenda Hinkley, the Hinkleys decided to expand their offerings to include not only the original cake flavor, but also several different flavors for specialty orders. Glenda Hinkley also began to offer more than 15 different flavors as cupcakes.
In addition to the cupcakes, Chestnut Hill customers can choose from a variety of desserts, including several kinds of handmade pastries, cookies and doughnuts, by walking into the shop and placing call-ahead orders. The bakery does birthday orders as well.
According to Glenda Hinkley, the bakery often fills orders from parents who live out of town and want to send their children at nearby colleges a cake or cupcakes. The staff delivers the order and will even include a handful of balloons if requested.
“I used to literally say ‘Lord help me to be a blessing,’ because somebody’s birthday gets this,” Glenda Hinkley said. “… We just think, ‘Oh it’s a business, here’s a birthday cake.’ No, somebody’s having a celebration, and we get to be part of it. That’s the part I love.”
Additionally, Chestnut Hill sells thousands of pies and packages of bread around big holidays. The bakery has also produced huge orders for businesses and organizations, including a 2,000-brownie order for a local business and a 6,000-cupcake order for Liberty’s 2013 graduation reception. Currently, Chestnut Hill provides 250-300 doughnuts each week to students who participate in Gillville, Liberty’s fan campout prior to home football games.
Overall, the Hinkleys see their business as an opportunity to touch others.
“It’s just a bakery, but you know what? It’s something God’s given us to bless other people,” Glenda Hinkley said.
Chestnut Hill Bakery is located at 5216 Fort Ave. and is open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.
According to the Hinkleys, guests can present a copy of this article for a free cupcake with the purchase of a cupcake.*