Home » MBJ FEATURE » Cookie baking that started on a whim becomes a franchise chain
Whimsy Cookie Co. founder Laurie Suriff (left) and Collins Tuohy beam down from a photo in the new store in Renaissance.

Cookie baking that started on a whim becomes a franchise chain


The story of Whimsy Cookie Co. began where you might imagine – in someone’s home kitchen.

Laurie Suriff began by making cookies for her husband’s clients, then for others. Then she began selling them.

That’s the way things went for several years.

Then, by chance, she joined forces with Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose adoptive son, Michael Oher, has become part of American sports lore, thanks to the book and movie called “Blind Side,” which became sensations.

Michael was a very large ghetto kid in Memphis and the Tuohys took him in after seeing him play on the Briarcrest Christian School football team in the suburbs.

Then he starred at Ole Miss. A few years later Tuohy wanted an order of Baltimore Ravens-theme cookies. By now, that was Michael’s team, in the NFL. 

Tuohy’s husband, Sean, approached Laurie about joining forces in the business venture, and the rest isn’t yet history, but it’s evolving.

Memphis-based Whimsy Cookie Co. has sold eight franchises since its business plan matured in 2013.

The latest is in the Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland.

Co-owner Pepper Carter declined to reveal the front-end investment.

The company headquarters did not respond to inquiries about the franchise agreements.

Franchise Times, a trade publication, reported on Sept. 27 that the initial investment is between $280,000 and $420,000, adding that because no franchised stores have been operating long enough, no financial data is included in the franchise disclosure document.

Aaron Suriff, Laurie’s husband, heads up franchising. He began selling franchises. in January 2018

Twenty-two more deals are signed, he said in the Franchise Times article.

Alan and Pepper Carter opened their store on Nov. 6.

The public has received it very well,” said Pepper Carter, who is communications manager for Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison and whose husband is a pharmaceuticals salesman.

About 20 people work at the store, most of whom are part-time, she said.

As you might imagine, the cookies are not cheap. That’s because they are handmade. There is a variety of styles and tastes.

In-store, basic decorated sugar cookies are $3.50 each; detailed sugar cookies are $4.

Gooey cookies are $2.25 each, $2.50 with chocolate chips.

Shipped, basic sugar cookies are $48 for 12, or $4 each.

Of course, seasonal cookies are in demand now. They run about $5 apiece.


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Jack Weatherly