Sweet Shift

Peete’s Famous Cheesecakes sold 16,000 cheesecakes last year.

Patrick Peteet was eager to keep the family realty business going, but when the housing market started to teeter in 2007, the writing was on the wall.

“Few houses were changing hands, and mortgage financing all but dried up,” Peteet says. “I had a family to feed.”

After selling his realty business, he opened Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake in Oak Park. As owner and head baker, Peteet had a ready workforce — the bakery’s eight employees are all family members.

Launched in 2010, the company sold 16,000 cheesecakes last year to an array of walk-in customers and commercial accounts including The Henry Ford, the Fox Theatre, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Vivio’s Food and Spirits, among others.

“I started baking as a hobby when I was 11 years old, and I figured we could make it a business because people always have something to celebrate, whether there’s a recession or not,” Peteet says. “We plan to open more stores and franchise the business.”

In addition to opening a location in West Bloomfield Township, at Maple and Orchard Lake roads, Peteet has developed 90 different cheesecakes including sweet potato, strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, lemon, lime, and a variety of liquor-infused offerings.

“We’re doing cheesecake cupcakes, cheesecake pop-ups, and cheesecake ice cream,” Peteet says. “We’re going to get into grocery stores, and the goal is to make the company a household name. When we get there, we’ll have the cheesecake to celebrate.” db —R.J. King

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