Justin Truby knows the city of Washington. Both of them.
He is a District of Columbia police sergeant who works the midnight to 8 a.m. shift, then tackles his second job – baking delectable delights and delivering them for Dragonfly Desserts. It’s an endeavor he and his wife, Kimberly, started inside their Maryland home three years ago.
Distinctive gourmet cupcakes are the foundation of this business, and business has been good — strong enough to enable him to branch out into the Washington of his roots, in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Dragonfly Desserts is opening its first store at 7 a.m. today at 1006 W. Chestnut St. It is on the left side of a building it shares with Beer Stop, across from the former Angelo’s restaurant site, and operates from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For now, local customers either walk into the 500-square-foot store and buy on the spot or pick up orders they’ve made. There is no delivery service, alhough Truby would like to add that eventually. His D.C. business is all delivery, to clients in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
Truby is among a trinity of Trinity High graduates who own the enterprise. His brother, Ryan, and Tracy Hritz are the others, and they head a staff of six that also features three bakers who produce all items on site: Christy Kelley of Eighty Four, Kirsten Harper and Sarah Hritz, Tracy’s daughter, of Washington.
The three owners are hopeful of finding a commercial home in their original hometown.
“Washington is a small town, but it is not limited,” Justin Truby said. “We have a lot of opportunities here. We’d like to open other places, but right now, we want to see how this goes.”
Hritz, manager of the local shop, echoed that and another shared sentiment.
“This is a passion that we have,” she said. “It’s been a dream of ours to open a bakery.”
Selections include cupcakes, of course, plus special-occasion cakes, pies, filled doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, croissants, cookies and coffee.
Gluten-free items are not on the agenda, although Truby said they would be available “if there are special orders or there is enough demand. We are open to change.”
The owners’ sweet dreams are made of this: follow the model Truby established at his home in Waldorf, Md., about 20 miles south of the nation’s capitol.
More than 50 varieties of cupcakes are available there, including key lime- and lemon-filled, appropriately topped with green or yellow strokes of icing; theme-related delights, such as Star Wars (Darth Vader, Yoda heads on top); and even alcohol cupcakes, made with tequila, rum and other spirits.
Initially, however, about half those selections will be offered in Washington, according to the local store’s website, dragonflydessertsllc.com.
Birthday, wedding, anniversary and other event cakes – also appropriately decorated – can be purchased there. Truby can produce edible logos, off a computer printer, for appropriate events like parties and testimonial dinners.
He did so for a soiree for Vice President Joe Biden, and for a military event.
Though he is doing business in two capitols named Washington, Truby is well aware of differences between them – that what works in the District may not play on West Chestnut.
“D.C. is so different and bigger,” said Truby, a father of three who also works in a law-enforcement capacity at Washington Nationals home games. He has been on the D.C force for 14 years, and previously was an officer with Allegheny County and the city of Clairton.
“We do nightclubs, concerts, graduations, corporate events.”
Truby also said that, locally, he would like to adopt the food truck concept, which is popular in D.C.
The interior of the West Chestnut store is spiffy and colorful, with the corporate green and pink motif, including an artistic dragonfly.
The endeavor is something of a work in progress. The right side of the building will be used by Dragonfly Desserts, meaning it eventually will flank Beer Stop. Truby said plans have to be formulated for that side, but he does envision having parties where “kids would decorate their own cupcakes.”
Though the owners can follow a prototype of sorts in D.C. for their West Chestnut enterprise, they are willing to change. Hritz said they are hoping to have seating at some point. Truby is quite willing to tweak the offerings.
“Anything they want,” he said. “If they want it, we’ll make it.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/dragonflydessertspa or call the store, 724-206-0616.