Featured Employee: Trula Johnson

Trula Johnson

As a set-up production operator in Franklin, Trula Johnson is responsible for running the coil winder machine. When she is not at work, she is busy baking delicious decorative cakes for her fellow community members’ birthdays, weddings and charity benefits. Her cakes are famous throughout the area and have won numerous ribbons and awards at both the Tennessee State Fair and the Williamson County Fair. 

Get to know Trula… 

Q: Where are you from? 
I am from Franklin, Tennessee and graduated from Franklin High School. I currently live in a county that is about 25 to 30 minutes away, but I still call myself a Franklin person.

Q: What do you like about working at the APCOM facility? 
I have been working here since July 1983. I enjoy being with the people and the work itself. I also like being busy. I show up to work excited to look at the schedule and get right to work.

Q: What has it been like to work here for over 30 years? 
Being here for a long time, you see a lot of things change. At first, I didn’t like change that much, but I’ve found that if you give it a chance, the change is usually for the better. APCOM really treats us fairly and helps us to do better.

Q: How did you start making decorative cakes? 
I started making cakes with my daughters for their birthdays. Cakes are so expensive, and I thought, “I can do that.” I took some classes at the Williamson County Recreation Center on how to decorate cakes, and have advanced my skills over the years.

Q: What is your favorite flavor cake to make? 
My favorite, and my family’s, is a coconut cake. The people here at APCOM really like my carrot cake and strawberry cake, so I also make those flavors often as well.

Q: What do you like best about baking? 
I guess you could say it is my hobby – my second interest. I think it is also like therapy to me. When you are baking, you can forget about things that might bother you. It also makes me feel good to know that if a friend is sick or having a birthday, I can bake them something that they will enjoy more than anything I could buy them. 

Q: What decorative cake are you most proud of? 
I have baked two of my granddaughters’ wedding cakes; one was even a five-tier cake! My granddaughters were pretty proud of their cakes, and I was pretty proud as well.

Q: What do you use to decorate your cakes?
I mostly use buttercream icing to decorate. Sometimes I also use royal icing. I only use fondant sometimes to cut out a small decoration because most people say they do not like the taste of it. I also have countless pans in the shape of characters – like Sesame Street characters, SpongeBob, Mickey Mouse, and Strawberry Shortcake.

Q: What is it like to enter your cakes into the Tennessee State Fair competition?
The Tennessee State fair is a lot of fun, and you can meet people from all around the state. They have a lot of food exhibits so you can try many different foods. In the cake competition, I usually enter a carrot cake. I have been entering my cakes in the fair for about 15 years now and have won numerous ribbons and awards. The most exciting award to win is “Best in Show,” which is overall first place. Another good award to win is the “People’s Choice” award. This is when the people who have entered the contest taste each other’s entry anonymously and vote for the best. This is an exciting contest because we all know the work necessary to make the cakes not only look pretty, but to also make them taste good.

Q: How do people learn about your cakes? 
I have never done any advertisements – it has always been word of mouth. I get so many calls where someone says something like, “I was at so-and-so’s house and they had one of your cakes, and I loved it. Can you make a cake for me?”

Q: What are some special moments that have come of out of your baking hobby?
I have worked with a friend so long that I have made her birthday cakes, her children’s cakes, and her grandchildren’s cakes. I think that is really neat. Once I was sick and was unable to make my friend’s daughter’s birthday cake, so she postponed her party, saying she could not have a birthday party without one of my birthday cakes.

Q: How often do people request one of your cakes?
I would say that someone talks to me about one of my cakes at least once a day. Sometimes they are requesting a cake, or sometimes they have been to a benefit where they saw one of my cakes being sold at a benefit.

Q: How much does one of your famous cakes go for at a benefit?
I know that many of them go for over $100. At an APCOM benefit for BrightStone, a local charity that helps adults with special needs develop skills to care for themselves, a strawberry cake went for $500. Part of the reason is that people want to support the benefit, but also some of the reason is that people want the cake.

Q: What motivates you to be involved in your community?
I am a volunteer. Anything that people need – whether it be a cake for a party or to help with a community event – I want to help. I love to help organize events and help people however I can.

Q: Aside from your famous baking hobby, what is something else you enjoy?
I really enjoy country music. I’m a big fan, and I love going to concerts. I used to even be known as “George Jones’ girl,” because I loved his country music so much, but he sadly passed away in 2013.

Q: What is your perfect Saturday?
Spending the day with my three daughters – we would go to downtown Franklin. Downtown Franklin is such a great place. We would get breakfast and then watch my granddaughter play softball. Two of my daughters and four granddaughters played softball growing up. Of my seven grandchildren, only one still plays softball, but I love to watch her play.

Q: Who is your inspiration?
My mom. She always told us to do the right thing by people – to treat others the way we want to be treated. She always said to be fair and tell the truth always, no matter what.