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2010-01-21 / Business

Despite soft economy, Lapeer baker still cooking

BY PHIL FOLEY STAFF WRITER

Rebecca Rogers (left) and her daughter, Spencer, can make 500 to 750 cookies an hour at her business in Lapeer. She founded Rebecca’s Bakery 11 years ago. Rebecca Rogers (left) and her daughter, Spencer, can make 500 to 750 cookies an hour at her business in Lapeer. She founded Rebecca’s Bakery 11 years ago. LAPEER — Unless you fly Northwest Airlines, shop at 7-11s in Metro Detroit or are involved with the corporate food service industry, you may never have heard of Rebecca Rogers.

That’s just fine with the Lake Orion businesswoman. “I’d rather be known for who I am than what I do,” she said.

However, what she does, by all accounts, is make really good cookies, and what’s not to like? For the past 11 years Rogers has operated Rebecca’s Bakery out of a 2,000- square-foot bay at The Enterprise Center, an incubator facility run by The Lapeer Development Corp.

Like many companies in Michigan, Rebecca’s Bakery has been hit by the implosion of two of the Detroit Three and the nationwide recession. Still, Rogers remains hopeful.

She said that while firms that were bigger, better capitalized and greater longevity than hers have disappeared along McCormick Drive, “I’m holding pretty steady.”

While she had to let her production small production crew go last month, leaving the baking to her and her daughter, Spencer, Rogers remains upbeat. For one thing, she’s in negotiations with Delta Airlines to supply cookies for the airline’s First Class service nationwide.

Rogers, who describes herself as a “foodie,” said she was involved with a landscaping company when she got the idea for her bakery. “I wasn’t happy where I was,” she recalled. “The women I was working with were catty, and that’s not my nature.”

Rogers said that after making up her mind to do something that made her happy to go to work, she first settled on making bread. However, one off her first customers suggested cookies, and Rebecca’s bakery took a new direction.

Today Rogers and her daughter bake and deliver five kinds of cookies. Snickerdoodle, cranberry oatmeal, chocolate, chocolate pecan and peanut chocolate chip. “We use the best of the best,” she said.

Rogers said she moved her business from Auburn Hills to Lapeer to help contain costs. “The rent was two-thirds less than what I was paying, and I got double the space,” she said. Rogers said it’s important for entrepreneurs to keep overhead down.

Even with a skeletal staff, Rogers said, she can crank out 4,000 cookies a week.

She said that while her daughter helps her out, Spencer’s following a different career path in college. So, at some point in the future she’ll consider selling the business.

However, in the meantime, “I love what I do.”

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