As a teenager, Brittany McGee taught herself baking as a way to bring joy to the people around her. People lit up when she offered them her homemade cookies! It was also an escape; when she was 8 her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she fought for twelve years. “What I hope for anyone who’s grieving someone important to them is that they can realize the best way to honor someone you’ve lost is to live the life they don’t have the opportunity to live.” With that spirit in mind, Brittany signed the lease to begin her own bakery, The Humble Bee Shoppe, in 2017.
The Humble Bee sits in a pale blue building on Brookstown Avenue. The shop’s large front windows, likely converted garage doors from the 1920s, allows the sunlight to pour in, creating a storefront that is as bright and cheerful as the pastel, rainbow-colored macarons in its case. She’s well known for these colorful French sandwich cookies made with almond flour, which she has taught herself through trial and error how to perfect. Brittany had worked for years in the restaurants downtown before opening her own bakery, but she didn’t have any formal culinary or business training. It was the support of her friends in the service industry here that pushed her forward: “I don’t know if I would have been able to accomplish what I have in any place other than Winston-Salem.”
Brittany’s dream began as a cookie shop, and has evolved into so much more over the years as she has taught herself intricate and unbelievable cake decorating skills (check out her instagram account!). All along, her goal has been to offer confections made with intention, and to offer delicious baked goods for every single customer. “I don’t think that food is often mentioned in these conversations, but in order for there to be inclusivity, you have to take people’s dietary restrictions and preferences into account.” For that reason, one side of the display case at her bakery is devoted to plant-based options, many of which are flourless, dairy-free, and egg-free. On the other side, you’ll often find some of her favorites like salted chocolate chip cookies and jalapeno cheddar muffins.
November 2, 2021