Phyllis Ann's Family Recipe brings homemade breading and cake mixes, spices to Columbus

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
Owners of Phyllis Ann's Family Recipe (left to right) Rodrigues Carter, Nicole Carter, Tanikia Carter-Camara, Katherine Carter-Sylva, Dawanna Carter and Tony Carter

Holidays at the Carters mean a packed house, whether it be from the smell of savory dishes and desserts cooked from scratch, or the family members who comes to enjoy the feast.

The mastermind behind the meals is Phyllis Ann Carter, a Columbus native and the face of the newly launched dry goods retailer Phyllis Ann’s Family Recipe that sells breading mixes, cake mixes and icing, pancake and waffle mix, rice, spices, grits and more.

“I’ve always enjoyed just cooking homemade from scratch for my family for years,” Phyllis Ann says. “I come from a cooking family—my grandma, aunties and my mom.”

Phyllis Ann’s love for cooking has proved to be infectious. Her four adult children, Katherine Carter-Sylva, Tanikia Carter-Camara, and Antonio and Rodrigues Carter remember growing up and watching their mom bring recipes to life.

As they started making Phyllis Ann’s recipes for themselves, Katherine realized the potential to bring their family’s food to kitchens everywhere. The idea came to her in 2019, and her siblings were quickly on board to go into business together.

“We sat down and talked, had a family meeting and the rest is history,” Tanikia says.

Under co-ownership of Phyllis Ann’s children and two daughter in-laws, Nicole Carter and Dawanna Carter, the business came to life. The catch? Phyllis Ann had no idea. Instead, the family wanted to show her the finished concept, but they had to work hard to keep it a secret.

“Once we came up with the concept of what we were going to do, I called my mom just to clarify all of the recipes. So, she thought it was odd that I’m asking for like 70 recipes,” Tanikia says. “I just made sure I had everything right.”

The business plan came together over the next two years, and in July, Phyllis Ann’s Family Recipe had its official launch at Eastland Mall. At that point, they got Phyllis Ann, who expected a store closeout sale, to come to the mall. She was greeted by a storefront crafted in her honor.

“Even my own grandkids, nobody said anything,” Phyllis Ann says. “My son [Rodrigues] came and got me and he said, ‘Ma there’s a going out of business sale [at Eastland Mall], I want you to come.’ So, we came up here expecting to find something and see what we could get, and it was Phyllis Ann’s… it was a wonderful surprise.”

She never saw her recipes leaving the family, but now that she has, she says the sky’s the limit and feels confident the business will succeed.

“People used to tell me, ’You ought to sell your cakes, they’re so good,’ ’’ Phyllis Ann says, “but I just say, ‘No, no, I’ll just keep it in the family.’ This is a wonderful idea. I think they’re going to do great.”

Phyllis Ann doesn’t have a share of the company, but her family hopes to help support her and husband Willie Roy with the profits, says Katherine, the acting CEO.

Customers can shop Phyllis Ann’s Family Recipe in-store or online, where they can place an order for pickup or have it shipped anywhere in the U.S. All products are also made in-house.

The family has been happy with the profits they’ve made since their recent opening and hope to gain more traction. To help with building momentum, Antonio shares that they will continue rolling out new recipes and offer Sample Saturdays so potential customers can get hooked. In the future, they hope to expand and have their products for sale at other chains.

“We put a lot of hard work behind making sure that we were able to package everything and get it together and have a good product that we could offer to Columbus and the rest of the world,” Antonio says.

Some of the must-tries and family favorites include the German chocolate cake, southern pound cake and Willie Roy’s Southern Style Chicken and Fish Fry, a breading mix named after their father and Phyllis Ann’s husband of 50 years and counting, who she proudly admits is her best friend.

Phyllis Ann can’t pinpoint just one favorite dish, but she offers a piece of advice: “Come in and try it,” she laughs, ”I’m sure you’ll like it.”

jdeyo@dispatch.com

@DeyoJessica

Phyllis Ann’s Family Recipe

4225 Eastland Mall Food Court
Columbus 43232 • thephyllisannbrand.com

Business: Black-owned enterprise selling specialty grocery items such as cake mixes, herbs and spices, fish and chicken fry, and more.

Employees: 6

Acting CEO: Katherine Carter-Sylva

Revenue: Would not disclose.