Good Cookies owner Jeffrey Gisstennar, center, celebrates the opening of his store alongside Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit City Councilmember James Tate and Kevin Johnson, president and CEO, DEGC.
Photo provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
The latest Motor City Match recipient, Good Cookies, celebrated a grand opening in North Rosedale Park and has sweet plans to hire local residents with community-minded initiatives.
In June, Good Cookies owner Jeffrey Gisstennar celebrated the opening of his store alongside Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit City Councilmember James Tate and Kevin Johnson, president and CEO, DEGC.
“Motor City Match grantees like Jeffrey are following through with their plans to open their businesses, even though COVID-19 has made it more difficult,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are extremely thankful to Detroit’s small business community for their commitment to the City, especially business owners like Jeffrey who are hiring Detroit residents. Now we ask the community to come out and buy some really good cookies.”
Gisstennar’s café and bakery sells cookies including chocolate chip, sugar lemon zest, strawberry, sweet potato among many others.
Gisstennar, 55, told the Michigan Chronicle that his business concept, thought of in 2013, started out of his kitchen home.
“I am a real estate broker,” Gisstennar said previously, adding that around 2010 things were a bit unpredictable after the 2008 housing crisis. In 201,0 he would bake to relax and cool down.
“My wife would take cookies to work for people to try and people would love them,” he said, adding that his business took off from there.
He added that purchasing a building was “never a thought in my head” but he wound up buying one for his business at 19007 W McNichols Road.
“[I] purchased in the neighborhood I grew up [in],” Gisstennar said.
In 2019, he remodeled the former 1,400 square-foot hair salon (vacant for nearly six years) into the bakery that seats up to 20; outdoor seating will soon be available.
Located in North Rosedale Park, Gisstennar currently has four employees and plans to hire three more in the coming years. He is committed to hiring local residents as he builds the café and bakery’s communal atmosphere. His goal is to create a place within walking distance for residents to socialize, study, enjoy music and poetry and enjoy his delicious treats. Good Cookies is partnering with Great Lakes Coffee to provide customers with the very best in hot beverages.
“Good Cookies shows what Detroiters can do with determination and passion,” said Tate. “Even with the hardships small business owners often face, especially due to the pandemic, Jeffrey has continued to pursue his dream. He’s not just baking good cookies, he’s creating a welcome space for neighbors and investing in his community.”
Gisstennar arrived at this venture following years in real estate and operating some businesses. A Round 12 Motor City Match cash grant awardee of $45,000, he said he is grateful to Motor City Match, Michigan Women Forward, TechTown and Wayne County for their grants, loans and other support.
“The cash award from Motor City Match was the spark that got this all started,” said Gisstennar. “On top of that, the program staff has continuously provided support and help. This team has believed in me throughout the entire process. For that, I am extremely grateful.”
Good Cookies is located near several other open Motor City Match-supported businesses, including Detroit Vegan Soul restaurant, Fit4Life Health & Fitness gym and Artesian Farms, grower of pesticide-free, non-GMO produce.
Good Cookies is one of 121 open brick-and-mortar Motor City Match businesses that have received support. Of those businesses, 81 percent are minority-owned, 71 percent are women-owned and 64 percent are owned by Detroit residents.
The program continues to have a large and positive impact on Detroit’s small business community:
- Roughly 20 more MCM businesses are expected to open in 2021
- Around 1,000 jobs have been created as a result of open MCM businesses
- $9.5M has been awarded in cash grants through MCM and Motor City Re-Store, which has leveraged $44.1M in additional investment into Detroit’s neighborhoods
“Motor City Match continues to have a tremendous impact on Detroit,” said Kevin Johnson, DEGC President, and CEO. “More Detroiters are on a path to economic mobility, have been given a chance to pursue their passions, and have access to goods and services in their neighborhoods. We are using the lessons we learned from MCM to create even stronger support for Detroit’s small business community – the heartbeat of our City.”
For more information on Good Cookies visit https://justeatgoodcookies.com/.
For more information on Motor City Match go to https://www.motorcitymatch.com/.