Considerate Confections

A new bakery has opened in Nixa for people with dietary restrictions


Kaitlyn Witts

“The Sweet Deal is a completely gluten-free space, so people with the tiniest gluten intolerance to people with Celiac Disease can enjoy Sweet Deal’s yummy treats,” Ashlyn Morton said.

Those struggling with celiac disease have a new option for baked treats in Nixa. The Sweet Deal bakery recently opened just off Main Street. Laura Deal, owner and baker at The Sweet Deal, is gluten-free herself.
“I started working in a bakery about three years ago, which brought back my love of baking, but I couldn’t eat anything because I was diagnosed,” Deal said. “My doctors told me I needed to go gluten-free about seven years ago. It took me a little while to get on the bandwagon and go completely gluten-free, because it’s been really hard to do, but [then] I just started making everything gluten-free — just testing out so many recipes and getting some really good results.”
Deal makes sure that there is no cross-contamination of gluten products in the bakery, making it a safe space for those living with celiac disease.
“A lot of people are like, ‘Is this all gluten-free?’ Because I’m the only place that has a commercial bakery in this area that’s completely all gluten-free,” Deal said. “There’s no cross-contamination because I don’t make anything regular. Nothing [with gluten] comes into my bakery, period.”
With a range of baked goods, one could walk into The Sweet Deal to get something for every meal, and never miss out on the fun.
“My fudgy brownies are probably my top seller because a lot of gluten-free stuff is a little bit dry or crumbly, but mine are very fudgy and moist,” Deal said. “Another one of my top sellers is my cinnamon roll, because getting a good gluten-free cinnamon roll is hard. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make a lot of pies. People miss that, because when they get together with their family they can’t eat what their [family is] eating.”
As Deal’s bakery has grown, she eventually found some people to hire.
“It’s a struggle — it was mainly just me for the first couple of months, so I’ve hired a couple of people — like Maddie [McCrea] and Ashlyn Morton,” Deal said. “[Ashlyn] used to come and see me at the Farmers Market and get my macarons, and then she heard that I was opening my bakery and offered to help. She was my first employee, so she’s been with me since day one.”
Senior Ashlyn Morton said her new job has been ideal for her. “I have been working at Sweet Deal since the end of the tennis season, [so] around the beginning of October,” Morton said. “I work the front area or register and basically help Laura with anything she needs. Working there has really shown me how much time and precision comes with baking gluten-free. I love working there. Laura is the absolute best and it’s a very fun environment. It’s also a really cool experience getting to talk to so many people that go through what I go through every day with having Celiac Disease.”
Though this bakery is already a positive change in Nixa, Deal said she believes that opening more gluten-free restaurants is needed and that they would be successful if they took the chance.
“There needs to be more,” Deal said. “There are several restaurants that have closed down that have been open for years, and if they would just open up a gluten-free restaurant they would be busy all the time. I don’t think that people really understand the need for it in this area. People are struggling, and people with loved ones struggle too because they can’t take them out to eat, because they will get sick if they do, so it’s really hard for a lot of people. I really hope that they start coming up, and if [someone] decides to, I’ll back them up one hundred percent–it’s not competition because there’s just so much need.”
Morton backs Deal’s statement, as the bakery has made it easier for her to enjoy great food without worrying about whether the ingredients will come back to bite. “Truly, it is hard to find gluten-free desserts and food in general in the Nixa [and] Springfield area, so Laura opening up Sweet Deal has changed my life and so many others in Nixa and many surrounding areas,” Morton said.