cinnamon, an Atlanta-based vegan bakery chain with locations in the United States and Canada, opened its first Michigan location in Ann Arbor on Friday morning. The store sold its special $1 cinnamon rolls to customers braving the freezing temperatures for the opening event.
US Rep. Debbie Dingell spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She told the crowd – which stretched a block down East Liberty Street – that she likes cinnamon rolls and is glad to have the new shop in town.
“I’m a cinnaholic … I’m going to be her best customer,” Dingell said. “I’ll be first in line right now… This is an exciting day for Ann Arbor.”
Deborah Boener and Doug Moeller, the owners of the Ann Arbor location, relocated to Michigan after losing their California home to wildfire in 2018. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Boener and Moeller said they were thrilled with their decision to open the bakery.
“We saved for two years to see if we would rebuild the house,” Boener said. “And we just decided to rebuild our lives instead.”
After Moeller left the corporate world, the couple decided to open a Cinnaholic location because they frequently ate at a Cinnaholic in Berkeley, California.
“(We’re) just so excited to do it in Ann Arbor,” Boener said.
Cinnaholic is near the corner of East Liberty Street and S. 4th Ave. and is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to their specialty cinnamon rolls, they also sell other desserts including brownies and edible cookie dough. Their products are 100% vegan and allergen friendly.
Boener said she looks forward to bringing another vegan food option to the community. She said many people are surprised to learn the company’s cinnamon rolls are vegan when they try them for the first time.
“We want to be known as a really good cinnamon roll bakery, not just a vegan cinnamon roll bakery,” Boener said.
Ann Arbor resident Elizabeth Wilkinson took center stage at the Cinnaholic on opening day. Wilkinson said the event was exciting even though it was cold outside, and she was excited to try the half-dozen cinnamon rolls she ordered.
“I didn’t leave my house all of 2022 and I had errands to run, so I was like, ‘Why not?'” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said she expects the bakery to do well with Ann Arbor customers.
“I think the fact that it’s dairy-free, that it’s vegan, I think it’s going to draw a lot of people,” Wilkinson said.
Jacob Lee, an Ann Arbor resident whose job is near the new Cinnaholic, said he waited in line because he wanted a chance to check out the bakery himself. He said while there are already other vegan shops in town, Cinnaholic could be a good option for people looking for vegan desserts.
“Honestly, I think it’s a great idea,” Lee said. “Your cinnamon rolls seem good, I can’t wait to try them.”
Tech junior Liz Chang and LSA junior Lisa Ryou said they were drawn to the grand opening because of the discount on cinnamon rolls. Ryou said she was surprised by the great energy at the event, which included a DJ playing music for the line. Chang said she also liked the interior of the bakery.
“It’s cute, I like the displays,” Chang said.
Neither Chang nor Ryou could initially tell that the bakery was vegan. Ryou said she was impressed that the bakery could still appeal to customers despite being vegan.
“Everyone is still willing to come here,” Ryou said. “Actually, it doesn’t matter that it’s vegan.”
Daily Staff Reporter Eli Friedman can be reached at [email protected]