ELIZABETHTOWN — Even celebrities, with their customized diet plans, personal trainers and workout regimens, might make the occasional splurge into the sweet world of baked goods, as evidenced by an nondescript envelope that arrived at Burney’s Sweets & More in Elizabethtown on Thursday.
Steve Brown, a native of Liberty, visits White Lake regularly and frequents Burney’s in Elizabethtown when he’s in the area. He also knows Vanna White’s parents, who live, like their daughter previously did, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Recently, Brown was attending a birthday party for White’s father and stopped on his way to Myrtle Beach in the bakery to pick up a cake for the event — which White was also expected to attended.
White was seemingly so impressed with the cake that she sent back an 8×10 glossy head shot signed with the message, “To Doris and Tom, a very special hello, Vanna White.” Brown returned to the bakery on Thursday bearing the gift for the business owners.
But there was more of a surprise for the Burneys than just the signed photograph.
“It was one of our 15-layer chocolate cakes,” said Michael Burney, son of Tom and Doris and co-owner of the confectionery. “It was just a cake that we would have given to any customer, but we didn’t know it was going to Vanna White.”
Many around Elizabethtown and Lumberton are familiar with the treat, as it often shows up at area potlucks and get-togethers. Michael said that it is, by far, the bakery’s best seller. The Burneys have been using the recipe for 20 years, and they reported, only half joking, that they are not about to give out the recipe.
Their skill in making sweet treats has not just been recognized by White, but has been known by people in the area as long as the Burneys have been in business.
“We have people come from all over,” stated Michael. “They’re headed to Wilmington from Fayetteville or going from Fayetteville to Wilmington and stop in, or they might even come from as far away as Southern Pines. We have customers from everywhere.”
When asked to what he attributed their success, Michael said, “It’s all word of mouth. When you do something good, people tell their friends. We put our heart and soul into this to do the best possible job we can, and I think people respond to that.”
The Burneys have, since they opened five years ago in Elizabethtown, also opened bakeries in Clinton and Southport, and a Burney’s will be opening soon in Fayetteville at the Corner of Owen Road and Raeford Road. The Elizabethtown site, however, sees visitors coming even from Lumberton, where the original Burney’s is still located, possibly because the Elizabethtown confectionery has something the other four do not — the Burneys.
“People call all the time wanting me to personally make their cake and put their name on it,” stated Doris.
She reported that they intend to get the Vanna White photo framed and display it in the store among other recognitions.
“Mom was pretty excited about (the photo) and thought it was a nice gesture,” said Michael.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.