By Lisa Cipriano
Sometimes we all need to take a little time out and enjoy some of the sweeter things in life. One Chaldean entrepreneur has dedicated her life’s work to helping us do just that.
Lauren Roumayah started her Ferndale-based Detroit Cookie Co. in 2015 out of a need to be creative and a love for baking.
Prior to that, she was on a completely different career path which she found to be less than inspiring for her. Roumayah was studying fashion merchandising at Wayne State University and already had a job in her field. But she just wasn’t happy and it showed.
“My husband, Anthony Sevy, who was my then fiancé asked me, ‘In a perfect would, what would you want to do?’” explained Roumayah. “I looked at him and simply said, ‘I just want to make cookies.’ “And he said, ‘Then, let’s do it.’”
And, that’s how the sweet idea for Detroit Cookie Co. was born.
Roumayah’s love of baking came from fond memories of precious time in the kitchen with her beloved mother.
“I grew up baking with my mom. We always baked around the holidays. And, one of the first things that I ever made was cookies. Being from a Chaldean family, we gathered around food. It’s the way that everyone shows their love,” said Roumayah. “It’s my therapy. It’s my happiness. It’s my love language,” she continued.
The couple found a shared use kitchen space in Southfield, with the help of Roumayah’s father, Steven, who owns a commercial refrigeration company, and began baking the night away.
“I was working full-time, so we would bake all night long and sell them online and through wholesale catering. We literally worked around-the-clock to try to get our cookies out to people,” Roumayah explained.
As a determined Chaldean business woman, Roumayah didn’t stop there! She wanted her own Detroit Cookie Co. storefront and one eventually found her.
The couple had their sights sets on a specific Ferndale location, but it was not available as the owners had passed away and the building was in probate. After a year of calling for updates, Roumayah finally got a call back informing her that the building had been purchased by an investor and was available for lease. When she and her then fiancé walked through, they found that the kitchen contained all of the large and small baking appliances and work tables that they needed to take their next step.
“Without the exact building that we have now, we literally would not have been able to open. We didn’t have a ton of money for renovation,” said Roumayah.
With some cosmetic renovation, the couple eventually was able to turn 23421 Woodward Ave. into sweet looking and smelling oasis of “Cookies, Coffee and Carbs” that now employs 20 people.
Detroit Cookie Co. also offers ice cream, croissants, brownies and more as well as vegan and gluten-free options so those with dietary restrictions can also enjoy the sweeter things in life.
In fact, just about all of her original recipes came from her bonding time with her mother in the kitchen.
“We would take bits and pieces from different recipes and make a batch. If we liked something, we’d keep the recipe. Over time, we evolved all of these different recipes that we have now,” Roumayah explained. I always try to think what the kid in me would like,” she added.
Detroit Cookie Co. offers 25 cookie flavors and Roumayah is always developing new, gourmet recipes that incorporate Detroit and Michigan-made products that many of us know and love and some that we may have never heard of before.
“We do a lot of collaboration. We like to partner with local business and small business just starting out and release three different Detroit/Michigan inspired flavors every month,” explained Roumayah.
She even developed a sweet and salty cookie with her favorite Better Made potato chips! Detroit Cookie Co. also sells some of those locally made products at its Ferndale store.
Some of Roumayah’s cookies, that were meant to be a temporary flavor of the month, are so addictively delicious that customers have requested they be made standards.
“One of our best-sellers is a raspberry, Oreo, cheesecake cookie. We actually take an entire cheesecake and put it in our cookie dough with fresh raspberries and chunks of Oreo cookies. People love that cookie so much that when they found out that we were going to take it off of the menu, they started stocking up, freezing them and kept asking us when we’d offer it again,” said Roumayah. We decided that we can’t take that away from them,” she added.
Detroit Cookie Co. now produces anywhere from 50,000 to 65,000 cookies per month and Roumayah’s quest to make the world a little bit sweeter has her looking for a bigger, commissary kitchen space to allow for even more dough production in order to increase online offerings and open two or three more local stores next year.
“We’re going to continue to expand our online ordering by offering care packages and more gift baskets for the holidays. We’re even going have a food truck that will be in service sometime next year,” Roumayah explained. “We’ll eventually look into franchising. But first, our goal is to take on Michigan!” she concluded.
To feast your eyes on the latest delicacies that Detroit Cookie Company has to offer both online and at its Ferndale location, visit them online or follow their social media pages.