Local bakery offers handmade cookies with style

By: Kurt Buesching | November 14, 2011

What do you get when you cross an interior designer with a baker? Kathleen’s Cookies in Brighton.

The business, which opened its store front just last year, is run by Kathleen McKay, a former interior designer who always loved to bake, especially when she entertained in her home. She started selling her cookies online a couple years ago and now has a shop stocked with handmade, individually wrapped cookies that can be bought to go or shipped anywhere in the country.

The shop is stocked with cookies made fresh daily, and includes a boutique filled with unique gift ware like serving pieces and jewelry, all displayed with McKay’s eye for color and design.

Cookies are packaged in silver boxes wrapped in bows and artfully arranged with Kathleen’s signature blue tissue. “Our packaging is such a big part of the gift,” McKay said. “The inside of the box is as attractive as the outside. It has a very pampered touch to it.”

The stylish touch Kathleen’s puts on its packaging and display is all part of its niche, said McKay. “We really are about celebrating and entertaining.”

When it comes to the taste of the cookies, Kathleen’s has a leg up on Nabisco. Everything is made by hand and from scratch, using natural ingredients. There are no preservatives or additives, and Kathleen’s uses high-quality ingredients like Traverse City cherries and Belgian chocolate.

“It’s a big difference from a manufactured cookie,” McKay said. “Everybody has their favorite, and they love the taste of the cookies.”

“It’s the cookies and the packaging together,” that make Kathleen’s successful, McKay said.

Cookie flavors include perfect chocolate chip, lemonazing, indulgence (fudge, toffee and pecans), white chocolate cherry, cranberry pecan and oats, cocoa chocolate chip, peanuttery buttery and more. Kathleen’s also offers seasonal rolled cookies. For example, caramel apple was offered in the fall, and the shop is considering a few flavors – molasses, cocoa peppermint – for the upcoming holidays.

Chevy Cookies

Corporate gifts, which formerly made up the bulk of Kathleen’s business and is now more balanced with personal gifts and retail, include logo cookies (like the Chevy cookies in the photo) and packaged gifts with logos on them. McKay said she makes stickers of corporate customers’ logos and places them on every individually wrapped cookie, so that even if the cookies are taken out of the gift box, people still know the cookies were given by the company.

Since the cookies have no preservatives, and Kathleen’s recommends consuming them within three days, the company ships cookies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for guaranteed delivery, and Thursdays only if the destination is in Michigan. For customized corporate gifts, Kathleen’s recommends at least a week or two of notice.

When an occasion calls for a sweet other than cookies, Kathleen’s can cover that too. Customers can order cakes, cheesecakes and other desserts for any occasion. “We do pretty much anything,” said McKay. “We work with them.”

Right now, Kathleen’s is gearing up for the holiday season. Last year, the shop baked, packaged and sold some 12,000 cookies, and plans to double sales this year.

Kathleen’s Cookies is located at 5769 Borderline in Brighton. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, with some Sundays and longer hours in December. Cookie orders can also be placed online at www.kathleens-cookies.com or by calling (810) 588-4209.