The followers of a metro area custom cookie company are waging a social media battle against the recently announced cookie dough cafe, Detroit Dough, alleging that the founders knowingly used an identical name to launch their brick-and-mortar business. However, the owners of the forthcoming cookie dough shop say they’ve done everything for their business by the book.
Rachel Gregory is the owner of a Plymouth-based custom sugar cookie company that launched on Facebook in February 2017 and is also called Detroit Dough. Following the initial stories about the raw cookie dough bar, many of Gregory’s friends and followers took to comments on social media to point out the similarity in the names of the two companies. The name confusion even lead the Metro Times to initially publish an article about edible dough cafe with a photo of Gregory’s Cookie Monster-themed cookies (the image has since been changed).
On her custom sugar cookie businesses page, Gregory addressed the situation on Monday evening, noting that she first became aware of the other company after being mistakenly tagged in a Facebook post several weeks ago.
Gregory writes that she eventually reached out to the owners to inquire about their business name. “The person I spoke with told me ‘they debated long and hard (about using my company's name) and sought legal advice if there would be a conflict of interest but thanks to our businesses being different we were told we can coexist happily,’” she writes.
“I get it's not illegal and that YOU feel we can coexist happily but that's unfair. And why can't people have any honor anymore?” she continues. “Just because you think I'm a small sugar cookie company you don't have the courage to contact me directly to have a conversation and see how I feel about it? With using this same name I feel like they've stolen a piece of me because I am Detroit Dough, and I don't feel we can happily coexist.”
In response to the criticism Detroit Dough, released a statement on social media on Tuesday evening attempting to address those that had accused them of intentionally taking the name of another business.
Reached by Eater, cookie dough cafe partner Daniel Washington further defended his company’s branding and says that allegations that he and his partners “stalked” Gregory’s business page are false. During the initial brainstorming phase for the business, Washington says he and his partners Autumn Kyles and Victoria Washington explored a concept for a combination doughnut and cookie dough cafe in Detroit and eventually came up with the name Detroit Dough.
They eventually decided to focus specifically on edible cookie dough and began by doing a search through the State of Michigan to make certain that the business entity name was available. Upon discovering that the name was available, Detroit Dough registered its business with the state on June 8, 2017.
Washington claims that it was not until he and his partners began securing social media handles and a website domain name that they came across Gregory’s business. It was at that point, he says, that his team consulted with their advisor at Lawrence Technological University’s business accelerator program about whether the two business would be in conflict legally. That individual recommended that they move forward with the business and the registered name.
“We don’t believe that a sugar cookie that’s baked with icing on it is the equivalent of edible cookie dough,” Washington says. “There’s a distinct difference between the two businesses,” he says, adding that it’s important that a business with Detroit in the name also be based in the city. Washington says that he and his partners have offered to meet with Gregory and discuss her concerns.
Reached by Eater, Gregory says that she’s “currently pursuing legal advice on the next steps of how to remedy this situation.”
In a previous emails the sugar cookie business operator expressed an interest in opening a shop in the city in late-2018. The edible cookie dough shop is expected to open in 2018 in the NW Goldberg neighborhood.