Harreld Webster, Jr. is the owner/chief baker at Triple Dipple’s, a local company started in 2014 that creates a variety of delicious cheesecakes, pies, and more. Harreld runs the business with the help of his family, all food-handler certified–wife Tagwana, mother-in-law Vera Lee Smith, daughters Madisen and Macy, and son Harreld III. Harreld III’s nickname is Trips, which inspired the name Triple Dipple’s.
When asked how he got into the bakery business, he stated “My stomach led the way. It was never my intention to open a bakery. I wanted a cheesecake for Labor Day weekend a few years ago. I went online and found the highest rated recipe and tried it out. Everybody loved it so much; it was gone in an hour.” The same scenario played out during Thanksgiving that same year. Harreld wanting a sweet potato cheesecake used his mom’s sweet potato pie recipe and made it into a cheesecake. The evolution into a business began when he shared the sweet potato cheesecake at work. People started asking for different flavors. Even though he had no idea how to make what they were asking for, he always said he could and then figured out how to make it.
When asked if he always liked to cook, he responded, “I’ve always liked to eat, which made cooking a necessity. I enjoy cooking when the recipes turn out well.” As word got around, he was invited to his first public event. Meicka Jovan invited him to be a vendor at a Sip & Shop Soirée on June 20, 2015 at the Wingate Hotel. He accepted but hadn’t spoken to his wife. He didn’t know how he was going to pull it off. He and his wife went online and found pans for making mini cheesecakes because he didn’t believe anyone would be interested in a full-size cheesecake at a vendor show. They also had to get the business registered and get insurance. He was still working a full-time job at the time, baking late at night, and they had to find a commercial kitchen to make it legit.
”The greatest challenge was finding an affordable location to open a shop because we’re not rolling in dough,” he said. Harreld met Connie Ware at the Craft and Vendor fair at Shore Acres Park on May 13, 2017 in Chillicothe who indicated Chillicothe didn’t have a bakery except Kroger. On a Thursday he found a building for rent at 940 N. 2nd Street, which had been a bakery. Friday, he met with the building owner, Josh Schilling. The following Tuesday he signed the lease. They are hoping to open for business mid/late June pending Health Department approval.
”We serve the best cheesecake in Central Illinois. Our personal-sized cheesecakes are big enough to share if you have to, but you don’t have to.”
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