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Jolly‘s in Petoskey

Kristi Kates - August 16th, 2010
Cookie Magic: Jolly’s opens in Petoskey
By Kristi Kates
“When you say the word ‘Petoskey’ downstate, it’s like throwing magic
in the air,” says Jolly’s Cookies and Cafe founder and owner Keith
Jolly. “People always get that dreamy look on their face. What’s not
to love about the Petoskey area? The scenery is spectacular, the local
people are a delight - it’s all here.”
Keith Jolly is a man who knows downstate. For years, he worked as a
photographer’s representative in the Detroit area, most recently for
Troy, Michigan’s Hot Wired Creative; his clients and colleagues were
often treated to Jolly’s picture-perfect homemade cookies, and raved
over the cookies so much that it helped give Jolly confidence when it
came time to change careers after over 30 years in the same
“Part of my job was to keep advertising clients current with the
photographers’ current work,” Jolly explains, “this was accomplished
by having meetings and presentations. When presenting, it was
customary to bring food in, and somehow I stumbled across baking my
own cookies for these events. Then it got to a point where if I didn’t
have time to bake my own cookies, and I bought someone else’s, the
clients would complain it wasn’t the real thing - I wouldn’t even tell
them I had substituted the cookies - they just knew,” he chuckles.

As Jolly continued his cookie-baking hobby - even winning a plethora
of ribbons at Michigan State Fair baking competitions - people
continued to tell him that he needed to sell his baked goods on a
professional level.
“My response was always, ‘if you had to pay for them, it would be a
different story,’” Jolly says.
But he did seriously start thinking about it, and spent the next few
years visiting shops and doing further research. With Petoskey already
being a favorite destination, it was fairly easy to choose where to go
in order to kick off his new venture - but then the challenges started
piling up, even for a man with three solid decades of business
“When you set off to start anything new, there is a learning curve
upon entry,” Jolly explains, “I had a lot more to learn about the
business than making a good cookie, and even baking a cookie is a lot
more than flour and butter.”
So in addition to figuring out the food aspect and learning about
construction, codes, and health and safety regulations, I took a few
classes like Barista 101, among others,” he continues, “talked with
other cafe owners, and found a food service rep, Mike Ewing, who took
a lot of time to help and guide me. But most of all, I have a wife and
son that encouraged me and kept me going over every hurdle.”

Jolly and his team started with architectural drawings in October of
2009 - with a plan to revamp an existing building in downtown Petoskey
- and opened their doors at the end of June of this year.
“Our building is 20 feet wide and 96 feet long,” Jolly explains, “it
had been a downtown market for many years, and has 12 foot high
original tin ceilings. In the rear of the store, there is a section we
now refer to as WiFi Alley; we tried to have an electrical outlet
located at each table for our laptop friends. We will also be adding
more artwork as the season progresses.”
Coffee is another staple of the cafe, the perfect complement, of
course, to Jolly’s Cookies.
“We offer gourmet fair trade coffees from all over the world, along
with blended cold drinks,” Jolly says. “Cookies, of course, are our
staple, and we try to have weekly and seasonal offerings with those.”
His cookies range from simple to exotic; some of the recipes he’s
concocted to date include Orange Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Spice, and
Lemon Shortbread with Lemon Creme Cheese filling. With so many
Detroit-area execs now trying to find out how they can once again
acquire Jolly’s cookies, he’s also slowly working on his website, and
hopes to be offering his famed cookies via mail order within a few
Cookie jars, jams, and cupcakes are companion offerings to the cookies
themselves, and the rest of the menu is set to expand soon, too; but,
as Jolly says, they’re still working out the little things.

“Our intention was to open in May and not the end of June,” he
explains, “but for now, the summer is dedicated to providing our
customers the best possible cookies, sandwiches, salads and beverages
we possibly can. We’re striving to offer as many products that are
produced in Michigan as we can, from the beef and turkey in our
sandwiches to the roasters of our coffees; we are currently using
Coffee Express, a Michigan Independent Roaster in Plymouth.”
And is there still “magic” in Petoskey for Jolly after all of this
hard work? You bet. He’s glad to be part of Petoskey’s roster of
downtown businesses, and he and his family aren’t going anywhere else
any time soon.
“We’re hoping that this fall we can get more involved with community
projects because, after all, that’s what brought us here over fifteen
years ago - community!” he says.

Jolly’s Cookies and Cafe is located at 440 East Mitchell Street in
downtown Petoskey, telephone 231-622-8900. Summer hours are Monday
through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with some “experimental Sundays” 10
a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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