Gulfport Merchants Chamber Business Briefs

Summer has brought a sprinkling of dessert spots around town, including A Friend Who Bakes, Backfin Blue Café’s new Gelato Shop and Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ’s new ice cream flavors. 

However, along with the newest local additions, The Reno Shop, a discount home improvement shop located at 1509 49th St. S. will be closing for good come late October. 

A Friendly New Face

A Friend Who Bakes, which will be located in block 105 at 2901 Beach Boulevard South, plans to open in September of this year. The bakery will feature locally sourced ingredients and will be run by husband-and-wife team, Brittney and Travis Sherley. “We are going to be the only dedicated production bakery in Gulfport,” Brittney said. “We love what we do.”

Gulfport will be getting a bakery come September, and husband-and-wife duo Brittney and Travis Sherley are determined to make “A Friend who Bakes” more than just a dessert spot. 

“It’s been a lifelong dream to have a bakery,” Brittney Sherley said. “I love this city so much, and that’s what motivated me to open one up.” 

To be located in suite 105 at 2901 Beach Blvd. S., A Friend Who Bakes will feature locally sourced cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies and other pastries. To start, it will just be the two Sherleys working the kitchen, but Brittney is eager to grow her childhood dream. 

“We really want to be a friend in the community,” Brittney said. 

Renovations Over

It hasn’t been two years since The Reno Shop, a discount furniture and renovation supply seller in Gulfport opened up on 49th Street South. However, when a buyer came with an offer owner Wendy Oberholver couldn’t refuse, the warehouse-style store decided to close up shop. 

“It’s not that we want to go,” Oberholver said. “Someone just came in one day and made an offer. If that fell through we would stay open.”

According to Oberholver, she’s planning to close in October, but the date could be sooner if her product moves faster than expected. 

Until then, everything is 20 percent off her already discounted prices. 

Cool Treats for Summer

Finally, Beach Boulevard South visitors will have a dedicated spot to enjoy ice-cold gelato. 

Due to construction during the summer, Backfin Blue Café is partially closed, but that didn’t stop owner Harold Russell from diving into the gelato business. 

“This is new this summer, and it’s been great, really keeps people coming.” Russell said. 

The small shop, which features eight different flavors, is open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. 

“We’re looking at continuing this even after summer,” Russell said. 

Backfin Blue isn’t the only Gulfport spot that is trying its hand at cold treats. Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ has started selling ice cream, and owner John Riesebeck has gone all out. 

According to the Smokin’ J’s Facebook page, the BBQ shack currently has 103 flavors, including lactose-free and vegan options. 

Located at 5145 Gulfport Blvd. S., Riesebeck has included something for everyone, with classic favorites among wonky flavors such as “Cowtail” and carrot cake. 


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