Sweets and baked goods have a way of making you feel special. Whether you’re buying them as a gift or looking to treat yourself, indulging your sweet tooth always feels good. But they’re not just sugar and spice and everything nice.
As these three business owners will tell you, their sweets pack a punch of flavor and their business success proves it. See how these three women and their businesses stay busy satisfying Detroit’s sweet tooth.
Bon Bon Bon
Alexandra Clark opened her chocolate shop, Bon Bon Bon, in July of 2014 but her love for indulgences started long before that. When Clark was in high school, she worked at an ice cream shop and she became obsessed with it. Thinking she’d one day open an ice cream shop of her own, Clark went to Michigan State University to study dairy processing. After college, the dairy specialist traveled to Norway where she found a new love – chocolate.
“One of the coolest things about chocolate is that you can get the best piece of chocolate from any place in the whole world for less than $5. It’s an amazing access point to the culinary world,” said Clark.
With that realization, her dreams changed. She’d still make sweet treats for people to enjoy, but she was going to make a luxury that was affordable to everyone.
When you walk into Bon Bon Bon you’ll notice it’s not the atmosphere you might expect from a chocolate shop with its industrial feel. Even their packaging is different. Clark is a big believer that the package your chocolate comes in, should not cost more than the chocolate. That means no frilly white boxes with gold leaf details. Chocolates are individually wrapped and boxes are constructed with palette stacking cardboard with the names of each bon bon stamped next to it, so you know exactly what you’re eating.
It’s been two years since Bon Bon Bon opened in Hamtramck, and within that time, they’ve expanded to a downtown Detroit retail location and have plans for an expansion later this year.
Lush Yummies Pie Company
Jennifer Lyle comes from a long family history of pie making, specifically lemon pies.
Her earliest memories of baking are making brownies in her easy-bake oven, but that wouldn’t last long. Growing up, Lyle spent her summers with her grandparents, cooking with her grandfather and learning to make the pie that would one day inspire Lush Yummies Pie Company – the “lemon butta” pie.
“A ‘lemon butta’ pie is a lemon meringue pie on steroids. It almost tastes like a lemon cheesecake, that’s what most folks compare it to,” said Lyle.
Her pie recipes are a result of decades of family tradition and a Le Cordon Blue education. “ I love that I get the opportunity to create the same pies that my grandfather made. It fills my heart, even more, to know that his mother made the very same pies. I am not just making pies but carrying on a family tradition,” added Lyle.
Lush Yummies pies can be found at Eastern Market on Saturdays, Westborn Market in Dearborn and Berkley and can be ordered online at their website. Recently, Lyle presented at Detroit Soup and was voted the winner for her pie cart idea and her “Pies for Peace” campaign, inspired by her grandfather.
The future looks promising for Lyle and Lush Yummies, but even with a growing fan base and recent successes like winning Detroit Soup, starting a business is never easy. Lyle seems to balance it gracefully, though, growing her business and putting family first.
“I never anticipated it being so difficult to juggle family and a business. Your family always comes first and as a mom, I had to make some tough decisions when it came to business,” said Lyle. The baker also added that she never anticipated how difficult it would be for people to pronounce Lush Yummies Pie Company.
To those starting businesses in Detroit, Lyle has a bit of advice, “Take advantage of the programs out here for entrepreneurs like ProsperUS and so many others. These programs help to start building relationships and they will always be there to help you throughout your entrepreneurship journey.”
If you want to help Lyle keep her grandfather’s recipe circulating and support a small business, be on the look out for their crowdfunding campaign, launching February 13. The money raised from the campaign will go toward equipment they need to keep producing the delicious pies they’re known for.
Good Cakes and Bakes
The Avenue of Fashion is heating up with long-standing businesses and newer additions livening up the street. One of those new additions is April Anderson and her bakery, Good Cakes and Bakes.
“I was born and raised in Detroit, so I have a special love for Detroit,” said Anderson.
People told her she should look elsewhere when opening her business. They suggested suburbs like Novi or Royal Oak, but the pastry chef knew she wanted to be in the city, specifically in a neighborhood. Good Cakes and Bakes hosted their first pop-up on the Avenue of Fashion and after the success of that, coupled with the grants available in that area, Anderson knew that was the right fit for her and her bakery.
When you walk in, you know you’re in for a treat. The walls are covered in vibrant murals of sweet treats and the colorful chairs are inviting and whimsical. Anderson designed the space so it could be used for fun or for work. “I wanted it to feel like a ‘third place’ but also wanted a whimsical feel for families,” said Anderson.
Baked goods made with organic and locally sourced products are in a display along the wall. Anderson has everything from a wide range of gourmet cupcakes to cheesecakes, but her favorite to make? Cinnamon rolls – and pretty much anything with yeast.
“I love baking anything with yeast. I love the smell of yeast but I also love the time and love you have to put into making yeast items,” she added.
According to Anderson, the bakery will be opening up a new storefront but they’re still deciding on a location. So keep your eyes peeled for new cakes and bakes near you.
Where do you go in the city to satisfy your sweet tooth? Let us know in the comments below!