While countless Louisiana retailers anxiously await the green light to reopen their businesses, a Tennessee-based boutique bakery franchise is optimistically moving forward with its statewide expansion plans.
The Whimsy Cookie Company—whose signature melt-in-your-mouth treats have garnered an A-List fanbase that reads like a who’s who of Hollywood—is expecting to have as many as 15 shops throughout Louisiana in the next few years. Though exact addresses have yet to be announced, Whimsy has its sights set on New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, St. Charles, Shreveport and Monroe.
The plans will expand the company’s reach across the Southeast, where seven of its nine shops are already open and operating throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
“Like so many other small businesses, we have been forced to adapt to this new normal, while remaining focused on the future,” said John Kutac, president of The Whimsy Cookie Company. “Social distancing guidelines, disruptions from day to day life, and questions as to how to message to prospective franchisees and investors has been at the front of our mind. We will continue to push forward with positivity and continue to grow the brand across the nation, including Louisiana.”
The Whimsy Cookie Company was founded in 2006 by Laurie Suriff who launched the business from her family’s home in Memphis using her mom’s secret sugar cookie recipe. The brand quickly grew by word of mouth and became a local favorite. Then, by chance, she met Leigh Anne Tuohy, best known as the inspiration for Sandra Bullock’s Oscar winning performance in “The Blind Side,” who placed a Baltimore Ravens-themed cookie order for a tailgating event for her son, Michael Oher. Leigh Anne and her daughter, Collins, became huge fans of the brand, and in 2012 Collins approached Laurie with the idea of joining talents to help Whimsy Cookie Company grow.
Today, Whimsy offers a large variety of cookies for all seasons and holidays, along with decorated cookies for special occasions, like weddings and baby showers. Whimsy also offers gooey cookies including butter, lemon, chocolate, strawberry, birthday cake, red velvet, butter chocolate chip, and red velvet chocolate chip. The shops offer a wide range of other specialty cookies, as well, which include oatmeal cream pies, chocolate chip buttercream sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Oreos, just to name a few.
“We have such an incredible product. Our sugar cookies are unlike any other, and we just keep getting a lot of requests for cookies from all over. Especially in the South, which we love, of course. So we decided we wanted to bring them to more areas and get them out there. And we’re just so excited to do that,” said Suriff.
Love for Whimsy’s cookies extends to a whole host of famous personalities that include authors Emily Giffin and Maya Angelou and celebrities Tim McGraw, Reese Witherspoon, Miranda Lambert, Emma Thompson, Emily Blunt, and John Krasinski.
Including a $40,000 franchise fee, the total investment to open a Whimsy franchise is $316,800 to $469,500.