Black-owned business spotlight: Jazzy Cheesecakes

Black-owned business spotlight: Jazzy Cheesecakes
Gerri Brown, owner of Jazzy Cheesecakes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Not everyone has National Cheesecake Day marked on their calendar, but Gerri Brown, owner of Jazzy Cheesecakes, does. It’s the busiest day of the year for her.

“Last year, the line was out the door! We sold 1,200 cheesecakes that day,” she said.

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Brown has been making cheesecakes for more than 15 years.

In high school, she was enrolled in the culinary arts program at East Mecklenburg. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, she spent five years as a district deli/bakery lead trainer for Food Lion.

While she was working full-time at Food Lion, she was spending nights and weekends baking cheesecakes and selling her desserts at farmers markets.

Once she started selling wholesale to restaurants, she moved the business from her house to a commercial kitchen -- a move that allowed her business to grow even more.

In 2015, she noticed a strip of shops being built near Northlake Mall. She liked the location, contacted the landlord and put plans into motion to open her own store.

Despite being seven months pregnant with her first child, Brown opened the store she named in honor of her late uncle, “Jazzy.” It kept her so busy that she only took 10 days off after having her son.

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Today, Brown makes 75 different flavors of cheesecake, including several seasonal favorites.

Walk-in customers can find about 20-25 flavors available for purchase at the store each day.

Brown says her best-seller is White Chocolate Red Velvet Oreo Cheesecake Cake, which features layers of Oreo cheesecake and red velvet cake.

She says she enjoys being part of the black business community and is friends with many other black business owners who she sometimes calls for business advice.

“It’s really a small community in a big city,” she said.

Jazzy Cheescakes is at 9402 Northlake West Drive, Suite 102. The store is open daily.

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