Cinnaholic, an Atlanta-based vegan bakery chain with locations across the United States and Canada, opened its first Michigan location in Ann Arbor on Friday morning. The store sold its specialty cinnamon rolls at $1 to the customers braving the freezing temperatures for the opening event.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony. She told the crowd — which stretched a block down East Liberty Street — she enjoys cinnamon rolls and is happy to have the new business in the city.
“I am a cinnaholic … I will be their best customer,” Dingell said. “I’ll be in line first thing … This is an exciting day for Ann Arbor.”
Deborah Boener and Doug Moeller, the owners of the Ann Arbor location, moved to Michigan after losing their California home to a wildfire in 2018. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Boener and Moeller said they were excited about their decision to open the bakery.
“We saved for two years to try to figure out if we were going to rebuild the house,” Boener said. “And we just decided we were going to rebuild our lives instead.”
The couple decided to open a Cinnaholic location after Moeller left the corporate world because they frequently ate at a Cinnaholic in Berkeley, California.
“(We’re) just so thrilled to be doing it in Ann Arbor,” Boener said.
Located near the corner of East Liberty Street and S. 4th Ave., Cinnaholic will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Beyond 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 is looking forward to providing the community with another vegan food option. She said many people are surprised to learn the company’s cinnamon rolls are vegan when they first try them.
“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 was first in line at Cinnaholic on opening day. Wilkinson said the event was exciting, even though it was cold outside, and she was looking forward to trying the half dozen cinnamon rolls she ordered.
“I haven’t left my house in all of 2022, and I had errands to run, so I figured, ‘Why not?’” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said she expects the bakery to do well among Ann Arbor customers.
“I think the fact that it’s dairy free, that it’s vegan, I think it’s going to pull a lot of people,” Wilkinson said.
Jacob Lee, an Ann Arbor resident whose job is located near the new Cinnaholic, said he waited in line because he wanted a chance to check out the bakery for himself. He said that while there are other vegan businesses in the city already, Cinnaholic could be a good option for people looking for vegan desserts.
“I think it’s a great idea, honestly,” Lee said. “Their cinnamon buns seem good, I can’t wait to try them.”
Engineering junior Liz Chang and LSA junior Lisa Ryou said they were drawn to the opening by the discount on cinnamon rolls. Ryou said she was surprised by the high amount of energy at the event, which included a DJ playing music for the line. Chang said she also liked the inside of the bakery.
“It’s cute, I like the displays,” Chang said.
Neither Chang nor Ryou could initially tell the bakery was vegan. Ryou said she was impressed the bakery could still be so attractive to customers while being vegan.
“Everyone is still really willing to come here,” Ryou said. “It doesn’t really matter that it’s vegan.”
Daily Staff Reporter Eli Friedman can be reached at email@example.com.