Celebrity-favorite boutique bakery The Whimsy Cookie Company is about to sweeten up Knoxville with the opening of its first storefront in the area. Despite COVID-19, the Memphis-based brand is pushing forward with national expansion plans and is excited to announce its first Knoxville location coming this fall at 4927 Kingston Pike in Bearden.
What started out in one mother’s Memphis kitchen with a family-secret sugar cookie recipe, The Whimsy Cookie Company is now on a course to reach families all across the country. Founder Laurie Suriff decided to launch a custom cookies business out of her family’s home, capturing the eye of Leigh Anne Tuohy, mother of former NFL player Michael Oher and famed by Hollywood blockbuster “The Blind Side.” 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. Now co-owners, Laurie and Collins successfully moved the company to the “Whimsy House” in the heart of Memphis.
The Knoxville location will be operated by local franchisees Kari Summers and Kristi Hawn, two long-time Whimsy fans. The sisters are looking forward to introducing new people to the well-loved brand. Some of the most notable Whimsy fans include Reese Witherspoon, Emma Thompson, Tim McGraw, and Miranda Lambert. With specialties ranging from chocolate chip buttercream sandwiches, cookies stuffed with Oreo, decorated sugar cookies, to any of the 8 flavors of the fan-favorite Whimsy Gooey Butter Cookies, everyone is sure to find a treat that suits them.
“Whimsy is a brand that’s easy to get excited about,” said Summers. “The look of it and, more importantly, the taste of it is absolutely phenomenal.”
“We are really proud to be bringing this amazing concept to our local Knoxville community,” Hawn added.
Whimsy believes the new Knoxville location could be just the beginning for expansion in East Tennessee. The brand is also eyeing Pigeon Forge for an additional storefront. Each location employs about 25 people during peak season.
“Knoxville is an area we have wanted to expand to for a while,” said Whimsy Cookie Co. President John Kutac. “We are excited to strengthen our presence in the brand’s home state of Tennessee and bring our delicious products to new communities.”
Knoxville residents who can’t wait until this fall can order Whimsy cookies online for delivery, shipped directly from the Memphis headquarters. The brand also recently announced a partnership with two other Memphis businesses, J. Brooks Coffee Roasters and Shotwell Candy Co., and the new coffee and candy products will be available at the Knoxville store.
This expansion is part of Whimsy’s Southeast expansion plan which aims to bring Whimsy’s magic to new markets. Including a $40,000 franchise fee, the total investment to open a Whimsy franchise is $316,800 to $469,500.