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Gastonia cobbler, banana pudding business banks on sweet success

GASTONIA, N.C. — Twelve different types of cobblers. Try to choose between cinnamon peach praline to caramel apple, and of course peach, blackberry or strawberry.

Twelve different kinds of banana pudding. Some may choose chocolate-chocolate chip, others coconut cream, bourbon pecan, or what they call the O.G. — regular banana pudding.

Or choose, as many do, a dessert flight of a mix or match of any four cobblers or banana puddings.

The owner of The Peach Cobbler Factory believes in sweets and says she opened her new venture because she thinks Gaston County residents need a place for a variety of desserts.

“This is the sweetest place,” says owner Sparkle Agnew of her business at the busy corner of Franklin Boulevard and Cox Road, behind Walgreens. “We offer something sweet from the cold to the hot. We also sell cookies and five kinds of cinnamon rolls.

“People want sweets that they can’t get from a restaurant,” she said.

The idea of getting two cobblers to go appealed to husband and wife Ronnie and Rise Allen of Cherryville as they headed toward Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“It’s definitely different,” said Ronnie Allen, who had heard of the business from the couple’s daughter, who knows how her parents love cobblers

“That’s almost as American as mom’s apple pie,” said Ronnie Allen of his choice of dessert.

Door Dash driver Carrie Robbins says she picks up food for her customers often at the business, noting many of them are repeats. When she told Agnew she had never sampled the food herself, Agnew gave her a strawberry banana pudding to try.

“It’s good,” Robbins said. “Very good.”

Agnew spent the last 17 years working in Mecklenburg County in a variety of jobs ranging from social services, to the Sheriff’s Office to child support. She said she walked away in July and opened The Peach Cobbler Factory after Thanksgiving, even though her only experience in the food industry was as a server at Applebee’s while a student at Winston-Salem State University.

“I stepped out on faith. My father died in October 2021, and he always told me to follow my dreams,” Agnew said. “His dream for me was to do what I love doing and that was serving people.”

Agnew greeted every customer as they walked in her store. She wants to create a family-friendly atmosphere where people leave happier than they were when they first walked in.

“I love helping people, whether it’s giving them a smiling face or in this business, giving them the best dessert ever,” she said. “I’m happy when my customers leave with a smiling face.”

When asked what a newcomer to her business might want to order Agnew started recommending products — sweet potato pecan cobbler, red velvet banana pudding, blackberry peach cobbler, cherry swirl banana pudding.

“They’re all good,” she finally said. “That’s why a lot of people get the dessert flights. They want to try a little bit of everything, and they can’t decide.”

All cobblers come with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The store also sells “peachy tea,” cold brew coffee and milk.

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