Cassandra Thomas, One Sweet Potato

written by Jack Aronson

 

Sweet potato

Years ago, when I first opened Clubhouse Barbecue (1988) I happened to meet another person launching a food business. Cassandra Thomas had just started a bakery called Sweet Potato Sensations. Cassandra would deliver me sweet potato cookies and pies, which we would serve in the restaurant and deliver to customers with their orders. I loved Cassandra’s products, and was inspired by her drive as she built her business. When we launched Garden Fresh Salsa out of the restaurant, Cassandra was one of my first customers and a trusted taste tester. The salsa business grew quickly, so we sold the restaurant and opened up our salsa plant. It was around that time that I lost contact with Cassandra.

 

Years later as my son, Daniel, and I were volunteering with a group of University of Michigan students doing neighborhood cleanup in Detroit, I was surprised to see Cassandra walking down the street with her apron on, looking for me. I had given the students some salsa and chips for their efforts, and one of them stopped at Cassandra’s bakery, which was nearby. Recognizing my picture on the back of the bag, she asked the students where they got the stuff. Informed that the owner was just down the street, Cassandra dropped her rolling pin and right out the door she went. What a great reunion! I visited her store where her husband and daughters were working the counter. We reconnected that day after many years, and I purchased a bunch of her delicious pies as a treat for family and friends.

 

Last week we bought 500 more of her incredible pies for our Garden Fresh team, and they got to meet the sweetest pie maker in Detroit. You can bet they also got flyers and menus so our team can continue to support this great family bakery. Recently, Cassandra was featured on the cover of Hour Detroit. I couldn’t be more proud of her. Congrats to the entire Thomas family, whose bakery is helping to make Detroit the unique treasure that it truly is.