COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Those with a sweet tooth can now enjoy a new dessert shop in Comstock Park. Dolly's Delights held its grand opening Saturday afternoon, welcoming the community with treats to sample and buy.
Single mother of two, Stephanie Dolly, owns the business, after years of selling sweet treats out of her home. She worked closely with Spring GR, a entrepreneur support group in West Michigan, getting business training and seed money to start her retail shop.
"I’m really excited that my dreams can finally come true," Dolly said.
Arlene Campbell, one of the directors at Spring GR, said while the group's development program is open to all applicants, it focuses heavily on helping women and minorities.
"We've had almost 500 people go through our program. So we've had 68% of our graduates be women and 86% minorities," Campbell said.
Dolly got involved with Spring GR when she returned home to West Michigan, after spending three years with her children in Georgia.
"We didn’t have a place to live. We were homeless, and when we did finally get a place about two months later, I just kept doing it (selling desserts) out of my house," she recalled.
Campbell said she still remembers the day Dolly came into Spring GR for assistance.
"Stephanie came into our program, and she told me the story of how she had $40 in her pocket and started selling jars trying to figure out a way to make money. And here she is today. She's made it through some incredible hoops and obstacles," Campbell said.
Dolly went through coaching with Campbell and other Spring GR members to get the experience she needed to own a retail shop.
"I went from my house to the Downtown Market in the incubator kitchen, and I just graduated from there," she said.
Through her connections she found Holly Delrosario, owner of Cookie Chicks, and teamed up to rent space in Delrosario's building. Now Cookie Chicks and Dolly's Delights are operating under one roof.
"Part of what I hope to do is make my commercial space and listing available to the start-up business, because I truly believe that small businesses here in West Michigan are the engine of the economy," Delrosario said, saying she too started in the cottage food industry.
Dolly's Delights grand opening ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, featuring samples like cupcakes and cheesecake in a jar. Items like pies were up for sale. Some of Dolly's loyal customers who are used to her in-home products came to show their support.
"I’ve ordered for her from four times now," said Meghan Torres, a customer. "My mom can’t have dairy or sugar, so her 50th birthday was the 29th, and we got vegan cupcakes. They have natural sugar instead of real sugar, and they were hands-down probably the best cupcakes I’ve ever had."
Dolly sold out of the products she prepared by the end of the day, but promises she will always have more the next time people come in.
"When I'm sold out the next time you'll get me in the next day. You can put in an order. Everyday all day, I take orders, and I'll get that to you the next day," Dolly said.
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