This story is part of Tri-Cities Best, a viewer-vote-driven section of News Channel 11’s community coverageHundreds of nominations and votes placed several local businesses within reach of the title of Best Bakery:

  • Cake Pump Bakery
  • Peggy Ann Bakery
  • The Crumbum

Each nomination is a privilege, and each vote is an honor.

BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – The creation of Blackbird Bakery was a small stroke of madness, as general manager Carla Perkins would tell you. But the decision to leave behind every safety net meant the creation of the Tri-Cities Best Bakery, as voters would confirm.

“People laughed at us, they thought were were crazy,” Perkins said. “Our families and our friends actually worried about us. They thought this was a crazy venture.”

Nowadays, Perkins said her critics are laughing with her, not at her.

“They’re so proud of me,” Perkins said. “They tell me, we’re so proud of you. We would have never done that. I’m not going to say I’m proud of me because it was a joint effort. I couldn’t make it without these people down here who helped me in every respect.”

Perkins and her team make the absolute most of the space found in their Piedmont St. building. There are plans to expand their kitchen and storage space, but the business’s focus remains on currently open locations.

“For us, we would rather have our flagship store,” Perkins said. “We love having the convenience of the drive-thru for those people that maybe can’t get out of their car or for whatever reason they don’t.”

Perkins said consistency is a core tenet of her business model and that she wants her customers to get exactly what they expect when they return.

“If I go into a bakery and I really love something they do, but they’re not making it consistently, I leave disappointed sometimes,” Perkins said. “When your heart is really set on getting something in particular, I feel like we offer consistency over anything else.”

Those consistent offerings are the bakery staples, Perkins said. Cannolis, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, cheesecake, macarons and many, many more. Between those, you can find rare flavors and unique items that only pop up occasionally.

“We used to be a 24-hour bakery,” Perkins said. “If it weren’t for staffing, we would probably go back to 24-hour service six days a week.

Perkins and crew were thankful for the win, citing a stream of regular patrons that makes their business day better.

“I have to thank everybody who not only voted, but I’m just thankful for my faithful customers,” Perkins said. “You come in here day in, day out.”