Cooper Street Cookies Now In Sam’s Clubs Across The Country
Start with an old family recipe, add in a dedicated mother and two sons, mix well with a hardworking team of employees from JVS, and the result will be a company whose delicious baked goods are now one of the newer products featured at Sam’s Club.
Cooper Street Cookies began operations in 2011 as a home-based business by native Detroiters Elaine Surnow and her sons, Sam, 30, and Max, 27. It now produces eight different varieties of cookies.
According to Max, co-founder and CEO, the company is poised for a bright future.
“We started with my great-grandmother’s recipe, and everyone really loved the cookies,” he said. “We wanted to make a delicious and nutritious treat using real ingredients, and my mom discovered the right combination of sweetness, crunch and goodness that made our recipe a success.”
The young businessman, a graduate of Michigan State University and 2014 recipient of the JVS Rising Entrepreneur Award, noted that the company name came from a street in Colorado where his family rented a vacation house.
“My mom would bake her cookies there, and friends and family would always gather around for a taste. We were actually in Colorado, having coffee and eating the cookies, when we thought of the idea to start the business.”
Surnow said the Detroit business scene has been instrumental in the company’s success. Even more so has been the partnership his family has developed with JVS’ Supported Employment Program, resulting in the creation of fulfilling job opportunities for many special-needs individuals to help with the day-to-day operations of the bakery.
“We’ve been very involved with JVS, pretty much since the start of the company and are very committed to giving back to the community,” he said. “There are so many positives about working with JVS. Everyone needs a job, and this is a perfect opportunity for those with special needs to get a real job on their own. All the JVS employees are so enthusiastic about working at the company. You can really say the cookies are baked with love.”
Surnow said the food business is challenging, and it took some dedicated effort to get his products into local stores as well as a nationwide retailer.
“We got into Sam’s Club by really pounding the pavement,” he said. “My mom and I started off doing weekend road shows at their locations all around Michigan — places like Southgate, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Traverse City. People really loved the cookies and Sam’s gave us the chance to sell locally as an everyday item.
“We recently changed our packaging and our logo and made minor improvements to the recipe. When we presented the cookies to the Sam’s Club buyer, she loved them so much she decided to try them out in all 632 Sam’s Clubs across the country. We’re very excited for the future growth of the brand!”
And what does Surnow see as the best part of watching his family business develop and thrive?
“A very rewarding part of this business is constantly hearing from customers — on social media or through emails and phone calls — who have discovered our products and are happy to find something they can feel good about eating.”
Cooper Street Cookies’ flavors include Cinnamon Chocolate Chip, Keylime Coconut, Lemon Poppyseed, Oatmeal Raisin, Orange Cranberry and White Chocolate Michigan Cherry, and are certified kosher by Kosher Michigan.
In addition to Sam’s Club, the cookies can also be found at Detroit-area stores including Kroger, Westborn Market, Whole Foods, Holiday Market, Nino Salvaggio and Plum Market. Cooper Street Cookies also offers its products and gift baskets online. Find them at www.cooperstreetcookies.com.
By Judy Greenwald, Contributing Writer