OOEY, GOOEY CINNAMON ROLLS. BROWN SUGAR MONKEY BREAD ROLLS. PIZZA ROLLS. ORANGE ROLLS.
Let’s face it, rolls of any kind are hard to resist. Katie Cornutt sure figured that out when she launched her Rolls Bakery back in March 2019. At the time, Katie was looking for solace in between round-the-clock feedings of her newborn, Lyla, who was born with a severe heart defect. Encouraged by a roll-loving neighbor to “just start an Instagram page,” Katie took the leap, launched a brand, and never looked back.
“Live and love to the fullest. We are not promised tomorrow. Make the best out of every situation. Live intentionally and with generosity.”
You left behind the world of real estate to become a full-fledged, small-batch producer of some pretty tasty baked goods. What prompted that change?
When I was 22 weeks pregnant with my daughter, Lyla, I learned that she has a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning she would be born without a left ventricle of her heart. Doctors and surgeons at Children’s Hospital told me she would need several open-heart surgeries to survive. Once she was born, her feeding schedule meant that my work schedule had to change. My son, Lennon, was the one who encouraged me to make my Grandma Schumm’s rolls recipe, which always brought everyone some comfort.
What does it mean to have your business here in Birmingham?
Birmingham has had our heart from the beginning because it feels like family! They have cheered us on and been there for us every step of the way with my Lyla. The support from our customers and other local businesses has been a huge help. Children’s Hospital has also been an important part of this story. We make a special Lyla Roll with fancy unicorn sprinkles, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Lyla Rolls goes directly back to Children’s Hospital.
What keeps you pushing forward?
Lyla’s situation certainly gives me perspective. I kept thinking, “If my baby can fight like this, I really have no excuse. I need to step up to the plate and fight too.” I should add that my dad is my greatest mentor. He has been successful in his career while balancing caring for a sick wife throughout his marriage to my mom. I still stand in awe of how he could make it all work. His strong faith, servant’s heart, and generous spirit are what make him who he is. I want to be just like him when I grow up!
Where can readers find all the amazing rolls you are churning out?
We are so proud to be carried in six local Piggly Wiggly locations, as well as in stores in Mississippi and Tennessee. We had a storefront location in Homewood but found we could grow our business better by focusing on wholesale production. Customers can also place orders on line for local delivery or shipping. We also do catering. Our single-serve rolls are a huge hit at wedding receptions, baby showers, and anywhere else people like to enjoy something sweet and homemade.
As a busy mom, what’s your favorite mom hack when it comes to serving rolls?
I like to thaw the rolls in the refrigerator overnight and then the next morning, I can pop one in a mini-waffle maker ($10 at Target!) so the kids can be eating a hot cinnamon roll in under five minutes.