Terri’s Cakes Nearly 50-Year History Makes Detroit a Bit Sweeter 

Terri’s Cakes Detroit bakery makes intricately-designed cakes and other sweets led by Owner Garnet Terri.

Photos courtesy of Terri’s Cakes Detroit


*This four-part series highlights four runner-up, female-owned food and beverage businesses that competed in a Samuel Adams’ pitch competition in October in Detroit. These are their stories and this is how you can support them. This is part one.

“Believe in yourself. Believe in your vision. Trust the process. And, eat more cake.”
That’s what Garnet Terri posted on Facebook recently about the role she plays in her legacy cake business, Terri’s Cakes Detroit.

Terri, a second-generation owner at the 48-year-old eastside delivery bakery, took the business over from her mother eight years ago after she ran it for 40 years.

“The cool thing about owning a legacy business is that someone already laid the foundation for you to build on,” Terri wrote online. “And, if you’re growing, change is a part of that growth. … As I continue to bring my mother’s true vision to life, I keep pushing the creative envelope, building a team of thinkers and changemakers to take Terri’s Cakes Detroit to the next level.”

Terri is constantly putting her family’s business at the forefront and engaging in new ways to make her business more visible and profitable.

Terri did just that recently during a Shark Tank-style pitching competition for women-owned food and beverage companies in mid-October at Marrow in Detroit.

SheChef, Inc., a local, Black-owned professional networking organization for women chefs, and the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program featured emerging Detroit food and beverage brands, which pitched their business ideas to a panel of five expert judges.

Terri, owner of Terri’s Cakes, pitched to the insightful judges about the need to grow her Detroit business with better packaging.

“My mother had a vision for opening a cake shop … and she decided she was going to retire and hand me the business. That was eight years ago now and I started to develop the business she didn’t even know I had the passion to do,” Terri said that day, adding that her family’s business has been delivering cakes and sweets for the past 50 years.

She said that there is packaging that she needs to buy in bulk that they can’t afford, and that locally, the packaging is up-charged.

“If we continue to grow at the rate we are going [we] will have all packaging we need to get cakes to customers,” Terri said of her primarily word-of-mouth business that she wants to move into a storefront in 2022 on East Warren.

The judges gave feedback on everything from promoting her storytelling to suggesting she visit more competitors to see how they operate.

Terri — who described her business as the 2.0. version of what her mother created — told the Michigan Chronicle that Terri’s Cakes has grown significantly in the past 50 years with customer base and innovation while many things have stayed the same: quality ingredients and loyal customers who keep coming back.

“We try our best to exude that love on a regular basis. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to add a little love to your special occasions,” she posted on Facebook to her customers.

During the competition, five businesses had two minutes to pitch their products and business ideas to the judges, who then asked questions and provided feedback.

Jasmine Haskins, the owner of Detroit-based Gajiza Dumplins, won the competition, where she discussed her ideas to expand and grow her pop-up shop that secures pre-orders.

Terri said that there aren’t many eastside bakeries in the city limits, and there isn’t much direct competition.

From sweet sixteen cakes to wedding cakes and beyond, Terri’s is continuing the legacy of being a bakery for the people by the people.

And one customer for the past several years can attest to that fact. Southfield resident Annisha Vaughn has bought everything from her wedding cake from Terri’s to sweet treats for family events.

“I love Terri’s Cakes,” Vaughn said, adding that she likes the bakery’s unique flavors and the family-style vibe. “I feel like [the cakes are] something my grandmother made—it feels familiar.”

Vaugn said that Terri’s Cakes is now becoming part of her own family’s memories.

“It is no longer just a business transaction, but part of the memories we make as a family and we continue to come back time and time again,” she said.

For more information on Terri’s Cakes Detroit book by calling 313.600.3799 (Tuesday – Saturday, 10a-4p EST) or via email: info@terriscakesdetroit.com.


For more information on the pitch competition visit https://www.brewingtheamericandream.com/ and https://www.instagram.com/shechefinc/.



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