EXCLUSIVE: Whimsy Cookie Co. Coming to Downtown Tuscaloosa Next Month
A new specialty dessert shop is coming to downtown Tuscaloosa at the end of August and its owner Laurie Suriff said Tuesday that it will border on the fantastical.
The bakery and shop, called Whimsy Cookie Co., had humble beginnings in Suriff's Memphis home more than 10 years ago.
“At Whimsy Cookie Company, we make decorated sugar cookies and specialty cookies like gooey butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies – we’re all cookies,” Suriff said. “I started the business back in 2006 out of my home as a little fun hobby as a stay-at-home mom and decided after it blew up to really go into the cookie business.”
In 2011, Suriff met her eventual business partner Collins Tuohy, who offered to handle sales and marketing while Suriff remained focused on making new recipes and baking cookies to fill orders.
The duo moved the company into a 1,200 square-foot storefront without a display area that she said was little more than a place for people to pick up the cookies they’d ordered, and about a year later upgraded facilities to their current home on Poplar Avenue in Downtown Memphis.
As Whimsy's success grew, Laurie's husband Aaron Suriff joined the team to oversee franchising the company -- at present they have two new locations in Arkansas, one in Fayetteville and one in Little Rock.
Tuscaloosa will be the fourth store to open, but Aaron Suriff said they'll be operating in 10 locations by the end of this year and 30 by the end of 2020.
"Tuscaloosa was definitely one of the target markets we were shooting for," Aaron Suriff said Tuesday. "We couldn’t be more excited to come and open up a shop there."
The Tuscaloosa location will be managed by franchisees Josh and Stacy Taylor, who are shooting to host a grand opening party August 29th and a hard opening August 30th. It will open in the heart of downtown at 305 21st Avenue, right next to Jim 'N Nicks Bar-B-Q.
"When you walk into a Whimsy, besides the cookies being incredibly good, it’s an experience as well," Laurie Suriff said. "It’s pink and gold and glittery and girly and it’s a great experience. Women love it, but men love it too."
Laurie said Whimsy will offer seven flavors of gooey butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies and 15-25 decorated sugar cookies ranging from smiley face or birthday cookies to seasonal offerings for holidays and football season.
The Tuscaloosa location has already found its bakers and decorators, but the Suriffs said they are still accepting applications for front-of-house staff to man the display room when they open next month. Anyone interested can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurie said the team can't wait to open in Tuscaloosa and show the Druid City exactly what the Whimsy experience feels like.
"When people come in to Whimsy, we want them to feel like they’re stepping into Disney World, to walk in and gasp and say ‘Oh my gosh, this is so awesome.'”