The pandemic led to the collapse of many businesses while others operated exclusively from indoors. Not only that, it prevented many potential business founders from launching their firms, but certainly not Florida couple Michelle and Anthony Canton.
The onset of the pandemic was an opportunity for the couple to start their new booming business. They own and operate the popular gourmet cookie bakery in the City Beautiful, Gou-Oui Cookies. They started the company in 2021 after Michelle, then a flight attendant, was grounded by the pandemic.
The name “Gou-Oui” was created to honour Anthony Canton’s Haitian heritage. “Gou” means “tasty,” and “oui” mean “yes” in Creole. According to clickorlando, the business started out of the Cantons’ home kitchen and later expanded to their own brick-and-mortar shop.
It began as a takeout-only bakery in Tampa via Uber Eats before the couple relocated to Orlando and opened a storefront in Orlando’s SODO District in December 2021. Today, the company is racking up hundreds of sweet treats a day in their Orlando bakery. The couple’s menu features five signature stuffed cookies with a rotating cookie of the month.
“For example, the Bon Voyage is inspired by her time as a flight attendant. The brown sugar cookie dough is mixed with Biscoff cookies (served on Delta flights) and white chocolate chips then stuffed with cookie butter. The funfetti-style Par-Tay cookie includes white chocolate chips, Golden Oreos and rainbow sprinkles, and the Fred Flintstone cookie features Fruity Pebbles cereal,” according to beyondish.
Prior to starting Gou-Oui Cookies, Michelle was a flight attendant, which gave her the opportunity to travel around and one of the favourite things she did was tasty a variety of treats along her journey.
Michelle did not start baking during the pandemic. On her off-duty days as a flight attendant, she spends much of her time baking and creating new desserts from Pinterest and other internet-based searched recipes.
She always found herself tweaking the recipes and also very often, the one person being asked to bring a dessert to social gatherings. “I started with cake pops, but they were harder than I thought they would be!” she said. “I’m good with flavours but not as into decorating.”
Michelle and Anthony Canton want to open additional locations in the Orlando area in the near future. They also want to expand to other parts of Florida. Recently, they shipped to the 48 contiguous states, making it a nationwide brand now.
“Launching into the rest of the country is really exciting,” she said. “We’ve wanted to do that since the beginning. We’re excited to have found a cost-effective way to do it, for us and our customers.”