Sweet Rolls: Husband-wife duo make Saturday mornings sweeter

Sweet Rolls: Husband-wife duo make Saturday mornings sweeter

Sweet Rolls: Husband-wife duo make Saturday mornings sweeter
June 11
23:30 2018

It’s Saturday morning and the Denton Community Market is abuzz with vendors, families and a fair share of adorable dogs. There is an infectious air of positivity in the market that compliments the early morning sunshine. That warmth extends to the Sweet Rolls tent where Artiz Stroud converses with everyone stopping by as if they were all his close friends.

Stroud quickly sells out of the decorative cinnamon rolls that filled the table not long ago, leaving him to talk with the several other vendors he has become close with in the two years he and his wife, Monique, have been at the market.

Their history with the Denton Community Market began because of a catering business they officially started back in August 2015. Artiz and Monique initially tabled at the market to help spread the word.

“My wife is blessed with cooking, and she’s from a family of nine,” Artiz said. “That’s where the inspiration [for Sweet Rolls] came from. She wanted to cater, so we did our first catering event in August 2013.”

The cinnamon rolls unexpectedly gained a following, prompting them to return to the market after an absence and continue to come on Saturdays during market season.

“When we weren’t here during a lot of the 2016 season, people were like, ‘Where are the cinnamon roll people?'” Artiz said. “So that’s how it started.”

Monique and Artiz run Sweet Rolls as a unit, but divide responsibilities so that both of them are working in things they’re individually good at.

“It’s a husband and wife team,” Artiz said. “She came up with the idea to do cinnamon rolls. She makes the dough, I make the icing. I also do the sales. We’re a team — we work together.”

Artiz is a UNT alumnus who graduated in 2007 with a degree in business, while Monique is a Texas Woman’s University graduate with a degree in education.

An interest in cooking is something that runs throughout Monique’s family. Her grandmother, mother, sister and brother have all worked in restaurants. Now, Monique and her husband operate Sweet Rolls as a cottage bakery, making their popular cinnamon rolls from the comfort of their home.

“Food is — for a lot of people — very important, and for our family, it’s what they’re really passionate about,” Monique said. “I would stay it started with my grandma.”

Sweet Rolls offers a variety of cinnamon roll flavors, including vegan cinnamon rolls, at the Denton Community Market on Saturdays. Artiz Stroud started Sweet Rolls with his wife Monique in 2016. Anna Engelland

A family endeavor

The Strouds stopped catering in 2016 so they could be at home with their three sons.

“It doesn’t get hectic because what we have learned as business owners [is that] you have to compartmentalize things,” Artiz said. “We’re Christians, we’re big on family, so when we were catering we would be away on Saturdays cooking in commercial kitchens.”

After deciding to work from home, they easily found a way to balance the duties of Sweet Rolls with their family life.

“We could do that from our home and still watch the kids,” Artiz said. “The kids know not to come in the kitchen on Friday nights. They’re over [in another room] enjoying themselves, we’re able to watch them and we’re able to do work as well.”

Although they make sure to have their own space and time for work, they include their children by asking for their opinions on new recipes.

“We’re always trying to make things better, so we tweak the recipes a little and let them taste it, and they give their feedback,” Monique said.

When considering names for their business, the Strouds wanted to be as straightforward as possible while also letting customers know their cinnamon rolls stand out with the tagline “Cinnamon rolls with a twist.”

“I think we just kept it simple and [about] what we were making,” Monique said. “We didn’t want to call it ‘cinnamon rolls’ because we wanted to do different variations, so Sweet Rolls was the next best thing.”

There are plans to expand the menu and add other breakfast items that would compliment the variety of cinnamon rolls.

“I have an idea that I want to start doing breakfast sandwiches,” Monique said. “They would be baked egg sandwiches with maybe bacon, jam or homemade sausage — I would love to do something like that.”

Sweet Rolls offers a variety of cinnamon roll flavors, including vegan cinnamon rolls, at the Denton Community Market on Saturdays. Artiz Stroud started Sweet Rolls with his wife Monique in 2016. Anna Engelland

Making connections at the market

Monique and Artiz have positively influenced the Denton Community Market and those they have come to know through it.

Honey farmer Christina Beck got acquainted with Artiz during her frequent visits to the market and has seen how it has impacted him and his family.

“I think [the market] does provide that place for people to buy from local people,” Beck said. “You’re keeping your money in the community this way and supporting people who are doing things to feed their families or enable them to stay home with their families. It’s really cool.”

When photographer Matthew Anderson met Artiz, he was pulling his sons and the Sweet Rolls in a wagon. Anderson feels that displays like this show the dedication Artiz has for Sweet Rolls and his family.

“You can tell by his personality and the way he articulates his product that it’s made with love and that he’s trying to make a difference in people’s lives — not just making a buck,” Anderson said.

Forming connections with customers is something that has helped Sweet Rolls grow.

“All business is about relationships,” Artiz said. “That’s where it starts — you build through a product and then you just get to know people more and more. Then you also grow as an entrepreneur and take in information and keep people updated.”

Artiz said those relationships transcended business transactions and became genuine friendships.

“People want to be a part of a story — they want to see progress, is what I’ve learned,” Artiz said. “They want to grow with you, and many of our customers have been doing just that.”

The Strouds love the community feeling of the market and have become close with a few fellow vendors, especially Maria Samudio, the owner of Hot Tamales. Samudio’s tent stands right next to Sweet Rolls, which may have contributed to the bond she and Artiz have.

“[Artiz] would make our [Sweet Rolls order] special,” Samudio said. “We would always have a special order with him, and they had no problems doing them. We’ve done a lot of buying from Artiz.”

Artiz said the Samudios were one of Sweet Rolls’ first clients from the market they were able to consistently call.

“They were like, ‘Hey, don’t feel weird, but you can call me every other week and ask me for an order,’” Artiz said. “For about a year or two they were die-hard, and I would call them every other week and they would support.”

Another vendor Artiz is close with is Kate Amberson, owner of Pies by Kate. Amberson started selling at the market around the same time as the Strouds, offering pies made with her grandmother’s recipe.

“He always sells out,” Amberson said. “His sweet rolls are pretty great. He had a cookies and cream one at one point — that’s my favorite.”

Both Monique and Artiz feel they have found a home at the market because of the kindness they’ve experienced and the support for their business.

“I would say the newfound community has been a positive change [and] just [seeing] how supportive everyone is,” Monique said. “You would think that it would be very competitive, but people kind of have this mentality that whatever is for me, is for me and what’s for you is for you, and we can both flourish together. That’s been one of the biggest things: to know we’re supported by other business owners. We’re just all trying to do it together.”

Featured Image: Sweet Rolls owner Artiz Stroud sells specialty cinnamon rolls at the Denton Community Market. Stroud started Sweet Rolls with his wife Monique in April 2016. Anna Engelland 

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Nikki Johnson-Bolden

Nikki Johnson-Bolden

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