Local entrepreneurs Darcy Towns and Jennifer Stockwell drove to Cincinnati in October, armed with platters of freshly baked scones, nervous and excited, but ready to pitch their product to a roomful of Kroger executives.
What a surprise they got when they walked into the conference room and found just one woman, Kim Gordon, the bakery manager, who told them that Kroger had already decided. Just Delicious scones would be sold in their supermarkets, first in Michigan, then Ohio, and then, who knows? Perhaps across the country.
Business partners Towns and Stockwell, good friends since their high-school days at Grosse Pointe South, had already achieved local success with their handcrafted scones made in small batches and shaped as butterflies, hearts, and flowers.
Ten years ago, they incorporated as Just Delicious, catering private parties and making scones out of a small kitchen. In 2007, they opened a retail shop at 15110 Kercheval to sell the sweet treats.
It was the summer of 2008 that put them on the map, scone-wise, when Towns gathered her courage and made a big move. Figuring that “no one stops a girl with a tray of scones,” she barged onto the set of the locally filmed Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino during a rehearsal at the hardware store just down the street, and offered them to the cast and crew.
To say the scones were a hit is putting it mildly. The movie folks ordered deliveries twice a week while they were in town, and invited the women to their wrap party when the filming was over.
As word spread, local markets started featuring the scones, which come in such flavors as white chocolate coconut, currant, lemon, and the signature cranberry-apricot, the flavor that started the whole thing when Stockwell first made it 15 years ago for a coffeehouse her mother was running on Kercheval. (That space is now their production center).
Just Delicious Scones can already be found at Hiller’s, Nino Salvaggio’s, Westborn, Mulier’s, and Holiday markets, among others. Kroger hopes to carry the scones in time for Valentine’s Day.
Despite the necessary increase in production numbers, the women say they will still make them in small batches, using two shifts a day for a staff of four bakers and two glazers, who work six days a week, but never on Sunday. That’s family day, say the business partners, both single mothers. Stockwell has three young sons, Towns two young daughters.
Their behind-the-scenes partners, an accountant and a business manager, are also women, Michele Makowski and Donna Peters.
Towns and Stockwell say they have just one regret. They will no longer have time to take on catering jobs, although they do offer one carryout dinner selection on Wednesday evenings. “It’s time to move on,” says Towns. “It’s like the doctor says — we’re not taking new patients.” — Molly Abraham
Just Delicious Scones, 15110 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park; 313-823-8425, justdeliciousscones.com.