The Duncan Banner

April 27, 2010

Homemade goodness

Toni Hopper
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Scott Rice would tease his mother-in-law Betty Emmons that she needed to open a cookie store in Branson, Mo., so that when they visited, they would have a place to get fresh home-baked cookies.

Emmons never heeded his advice, never moved to Branson.

But if it hadn’t been for Emmons, Rice’s wife, Lisa, may have never opened Cici’s Kitchen, one of Duncan’s newest most popular businesses.

“We got to teasing her and then thought there’s nowhere like that in Duncan,” Lisa said.

Lisa opened the “homemade” bakery Feb. 10, and word quickly spread that if you wanted a quick treat in the middle of the day, Cici’s was the place to go.

Treats range from “ginormous” muffins laden with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows or other items with names like “S’mores Muffin” or “Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin” which don’t fail to deliver upon those identities, to iced (frosted) sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls.

It’s not rare to overhear comments like “Ummm ... that’s the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had” to “Oh gosh, this is so good,” as people bite into the goodies.

“The frosted sugar cookies, it’s so hard to keep them,” she said. Selling 10 dozen in a few days time is nothing and Lisa seems to have no problem in her kitchen whipping out a new batch of them.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot, but to decorate and frost them, it takes a little time. I enjoy cooking,” she said.

Lisa also makes bread on a daily basis and on one recent venture into the clean shop, a different smell greeted customers. It wasn’t sweet treats, but Jalapeno bread that she was making for a special order.

Lisa said the idea for the shop came to her when she started researching and finding that most people use pre-made commercial frozen bases.

“All of my baked goods are made from scratch. It’s not that hard,” she said. “Our stuff doesn’t have preservatives. It’s just like I do at home.”

As she rolls out a batch of dough for cinnamon rolls, the second time in one day, it appears Lisa has found her niche in life. Before she opened Cici’s, she spent most of her time assisting her husband and best friend with his mineral rights company, located next door to the kitchen now.

Rice bought the building in October 2009 and began renovating it for several businesses, including Cici’s. The couple believe in the family-oriented approach for their businesses.

Rice’s daughter, Robbi, also is involved with the bakery kitchen.

“She does almost all the cookie orders. Everybody’s been real gracious. Our cookies may not be the best looking cookies, but we’re all about flavor. It has to taste good,” she said.

Lisa may not give herself enough credit, since the cookies look as good as they taste. On this particular day, she had a batch of white iced cookies with colorful rainbow dots on them. Lisa also praised Robbi’s cake making talents.

“They may not be the Cake Boss, but they taste real good,” she said. “We’re always trying to add new things.”

In a storefront a few doors down, Scott was busy working on another renovation, but took time to brag about Lisa when she wasn’t in hearing distance.

“I’m really proud of her. The way she’s jumped into something unknown — the food cost, expenses and all that it takes to drive that business. This is hers and she’s doing a great job,” he said.

There’s only one thing that Lisa admits to not enjoying.

“I don’t like getting up in the morning. Sometimes Scott comes down and opens the store up for me, but I’ve stayed late the night before to get things ready,” she said. “I enjoy cooking. I don’t like getting up early.”

Lisa said this business was the perfect model for her since she always focused on being a wife and mom.

She said this allows her to continue doing that, which is something she loves.

And when you stop in at Cici’s be sure to ask her about the artwork on the wall and how she came up with the name of the business. Like everything else in her life, it relates back to family.



— Toni Hopper is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. She can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 132 or by e-mail at: toni.hopper@duncanbanner.com.