Some parts of Homewood have changed in the past 78 years. There’s no longer a movie theatre in downtown, the home size has certainly grown, and many of the shops that once lined 18th street have changed hands more than a few times. One thing hasn’t changed—Savage’s Bakery. When you walk in the door, you can picture schoolchildren from decades past ordering the same treats that your children and grandchildren pick out now to celebrate a first day of school, a team victory, or getting a new pair of shoes next door.
It’s not that Savage’s is stuck in the past—it’s that the bakery recognizes what it means to be a fixture in the community.
“Savage’s is a place where people come and enjoy their favorite cookie or treat and see a familiar face,” says Margaret Scott, who moved back to Homewood to work at the bakery her family owns. “It’s similar to ‘See you at the Pig.’ Around the holidays we hear, ‘See you at Savage’s!’” Margaret has worked closely with her family, being mindful of loyal customers, to ensure that Savage’s, which has undergone a few changes in recent months, maintains its “vintage old-style scratch bakery” style and charm. An updated website, online ordering and shipping make holiday prep easier for the regulars who visit for coveted party appetizers and celebratory cakes without taking away from the classic style of the bakery.
While Margaret works with her family to add new ideas, like the party room they added for cookie decorating gatherings nearly two years ago, she’s always aware of how much Savage’s classic aesthetic lends to its lasting popularity and charm. “I grew up in the bakery, working holidays bagging Butterflake Rolls,” she says.
As the youngest of three, Margaret never knew a time her family didn’t own the bakery—her father purchased it before she was born. “Don’t tell my parents…but I would always sneak a peanut butter cookie (or two) since there were cookies literally everywhere. So at a young age, I was already focusing on quality control!”
These days, Savage’s continues to be a gathering place in the community, with much of the business coming from regular customers ordering their favorite items. In a growing world of convenience and pre-made pastries, Savage’s continues to hand-make original recipes on site for its customers, who are more like friends.
“It’s always been a family business,” Margaret says, rattling off names of employees-turned-family through the years. “I helped Mrs. Lou, now retired, cut cookies in the early hours. Ben Cook, the head baker, literally the man behind everything, has worked here since Mr. and Mrs. Savage owned the business, and Charles Scott, my dad’s youngest brother, continues to be such a huge help in the daily operations. It means so much to see people committed to Savage’s the way these two are; it’s because of people like them I now have the opportunity to work here with my dad and take care of Savage’s the way all of them have. We are very fortunate to have many other employees just like Ben and Charlie, such as Code Jewell, our head cake decorator who is incredibly talented and amazing to work with; [and] Erika Spitzer, who has worked here for over 16 years and just might be fastest cake icer in Alabama!” Her passion for the bakery is rivaled only by her loyalty to its staff. “I could talk about each employee because we truly are grateful to have each one,” she says.
Cookies 101 With Savage’s Margaret Scott
Cookies Sold Per Week: Literally thousands, and much more than that during the holidays.
Bakery Start Time: Baking starts at 3 a.m., but during Thanksgiving and Christmas it gets going at 2 or even before.
Most Popular Holiday Treat: The Gingerbread Men. They’re amazing all year round, soft, chewy with exceptional flavor. We ship them all over the U.S., and even to Europe a time or two.
Most Underrated Treat on the Menu: The Turkish Macaroon. It’s made with coconut, dates, and pecans and is one of my favorite cookies!
Best Hostess Gift: Our coffee cakes are always a good choice and come in a variety of flavors. Try the large coffee cake, the Cinnamon Pull-Apart. It’s pastry dough dipped in melted butter and tossed with cinnamon sugar, then topped with pecans.
Best Open House Platter: Tiny cheese biscuits with baked ham. Make sure to order enough. Even though people may usually eat only two small biscuits, with these there really is no telling!
Best Cookie Swap Treat: The Lace Cookie. It’s light and crispy with the perfect amount of chocolate for that ultimate sweetness. Call and order them and we’ll bake them early that morning especially for you.