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Loving what she does is baker's recipe for success

Rebecca Rogers-Waskowycz (left), owner of Rebecca's Bakery in Lapeer, packages cookies while her employee, Kevin Gibson, unloads another tray. (Photo by C.J. Carnacchio(
October 29, 2008 - By C.J. Carnacchio

Leader Editor

It was the cookie that made Amos so famous and a googly-eyed, blue monster on "Sesame Street" unforgettable.

For Oxford resident Rebecca Rogers-Waskowycz, the cookie represents a truly life-altering experience, the transformation from dissatisfied career woman slaving away for others to fulfilled baker with her own thriving business.

"I wasn't happy where I was. I was making good money, but I was dragging myself into work," she said. "I just really reached a point where I wanted to get up everyday and do something that I love."

"Ever since I was little I've loved to bake. I love to cook. They are my passions. I'm a foodie at heart."

It was that self-realization that led to the birth of Rebecca's Bakery and some of the finest cookies to ever come out of the oven and into people's mouths.

Almost 10 years later, the Lapeer-based bakery is churning out quality cookies on a weekly basis for about 130 clients including corporate cafeterias, delis, gourmet market houses, Northwest Airlines and about 90 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout Metro Detroit.

"We make between 1,500 and 3,500 cookies a day, depending on the day of week," Rogers-Waskowycz said. "We cover about 1,000 miles a week in distribution."

Spencer Rogers, of Rebecca's Bakery, places gobs of cookie dough on a baking sheet. (Photo by C.J. Carnacchio)
The delectable gourmet cookies come in five varieties – snickerdoodle, cranberry oatmeal, chocolate chip, chocolate chip-pecan, and peanut butter-chocolate chip.

It was a very complimentary note from a Northwest flyer who lives in Oxford that tipped off the Leader about these wonderful cookies.

"We get calls all the time from Northwest flyers and the stewards and stewardesses saying, 'This is the best cookie I've ever had,'" Rogers-Waskowycz said. "It's always my goal that everyone who tastes them says this is the best cookie I've ever had."

However, those wishing to try a cookie the next time they fly should be aware Rebecca's fare is only available on first class flights out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

So, what's the secret to making a top-notch cookie?

As with anything edible, look at what goes into making the product. "We use the best of everything," Rogers-Waskowycz said

Unlike some mass-produced cookies which require a degree in chemistry to pronounce the list of ingredients, it's easy to read the label on one of Rebecca's cookies.

Her chocolate chip cookie, for example, contains flour, butter, oatmeal, eggs, vanilla, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate, baking soda and salt.

"Everything's all natural, no preservatives," she said.

Making sure every cookie boasts that just-from-the-oven flavor is another secret to the success of Rebecca's Bakery.

"We deliver fresh every week," Rogers-Waskowycz said. "I buy back anything that's still out on the market at seven days. We credit our clients for anything they don't sell. I think it's why we have such longevity and so many clients."

And it doesn't hurt that her company produces some pretty large cookies.

"They range from 3.5 to six ounces, depending on which variety," she said.

However, the ones Rebecca's make for Northwest Airlines are only two ounces each.

"They downsized because of gas prices," she said.

After reading this far, most people are probably wanting a cookie about now. Unfortunately, people can't just hop in the car, drive to Lapeer and get some.

"We're not set up for retail," Rogers-Waskowycz said. "I'm strictly wholesale."

Although cookies are her bread-and-butter so speak, she's preparing to introduce a new line of "sweet muffin bread."

The large slices will be available in three flavors – wild blueberry, Sanders caramel chocolate chip and cinnamon apple sauce.

As with the cookies, each slice will be individually packaged by hand to ensure not only freshness, but portability.

"They're perfect for on-the-go breakfasts or lunches," Rogers-Waskowycz said.

Whether or not her cookies make her a household name or earn her a guest spot on "Sesame Street" remains to be seen.

But for Rogers-Waskowycz her work is its own reward.

"I love what I do," she said. "We're just grateful to be able to do this for a living."

For more information call Rebecca's Bakery at (248) 462-1320.

The company's in the process of developing an internet presence at www.rebeccasgourmetbakery.com.

"It should be up and running in the next month," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader.
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