One tough cookie

Co-owner Alicia Kleeman holds a box of cookies at her Owosso Cookie Company, 101 N. Washington St. The storefront will open sometime this month.

OWOSSO — “Owosso Cookie Company” banners have been posted on the storefront at 101 N. Washington St. for nearly two years but, due to COVID-related delays, it’s only now that owners Alicia and Paul Kleeman can open the doors.

Selling edible cookie dough, cookies and frozen yogurt, the shop is set to open later this month, with the exact date to be announced in the coming days on the Owosso Cookie Company Facebook page.

“It’s a relief to be able to open, but now that we are we’re in a panic and excited at the same time,” Alicia Kleeman, 31, said. “We’ve put so much work and effort into this, we just want it to be successful. We want people to travel to Owosso just for the Owosso Cookie Company.”

There’s been a bright side to the opening delays, caused by the pandemic and, more recently, electrical issues. They’ve given the couple more time to — literally — develop recipes for success.

For five years, the Kleemans have visited a lot of cookie shops across the U.S. and tried out different recipes on friends and family members.

“COVID wasn’t good for opening the store, but it was good for making cookies,” Kleeman said. “We made thousands of cookies and, through trial and error, changed up recipes hundreds of times.”

The result was 50 cookie recipes that had won rave reviews.

The shop will offer 10 different types of cookies every day, including seasonal cookies. They will range from the simple — such as chocolate chip — to the elaborately stuffed and decorated, such as their unique Galaxy Cookie, a chocolate cookie stuffed with caramel and topped with sea salt and glitter, and a snickerdoodle cookie stuffed with apple pie filling.

Each cookie, costing less than $2, is wrapped in plastic and multiple cookies are boxed. A message on a wall inside the shop encourages, tongue in cheek, buying at least a couple at a time: “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”

Owosso Cookie Company will also sell 10 flavors of edible cookie dough, with a couple of seasonal doughs. The selection features chocolate chip, cookies and cream, brownie batter and birthday cake.

Dough is made with heat-treated flour and no eggs, and will be sold in capped plastic jars.

There will be 12 single flavors and six twisted combinations of frozen yogurt, which can be topped with refrigerated fruits and boba beans, and 30 dry toppings that include nuts, rock candy and cotton candy balls.

Also served will be coffee from the Salt Lake City, Utah-based Black Rifle Coffee Company, owned and operated by military veterans.

The Kleemans live in Caledonia Township with children Emersyn, 16 months, Jax, 8, and Parker, 15. Alicia Kleeman grew up in Durand; her husband, in the Upper Peninsula.

Alicia Kleeman worked as a dental assistant in Rochester Hills, but wanted to work closer to her family. She’s always wanted her own business, and has baked for many years. Now, running Owosso Cookie Company, she can be her own boss.

“I enjoy coming up with different recipes,” she said. “With this, I’m not going to work, I’m going to do something I enjoy.”

Alicia and Paul Kleeman, 40, have been leasing the 2,000-square-foot, corner space since January 2019. It took months to clean up, they said, and then they launched a major renovation: closing off the kitchen and painting walls, adding a new ceiling and floor, and constructing large counters. The overall effect is bright, fresh and fun.

At one end of the shop is a new electric fireplace surrounded by comfortable chairs to create a sitting area for coffee and hot cocoa drinkers in the winter. Paul Kleeman did much of the work himself.

About to hire a small staff, the Kleemans said the Owosso Cookie Company will be open year-round. They plan to take orders online for pickup and in-store from a website they’re building, possibly adding delivery.

“We’ve jumped through all the hoops to open our store,” Alicia Kleeman said. “I think we’re at the end.”

(1) comment

DavidB

It would be nice if you could offer frozen custard too. Mr. Smith’s Old Fashion French Custard brand made by Instantwhip is a pretty good product.

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