When you walk into Makeda’s Cookies’ downtown location at 488 S. 2nd Street, you’ll find bright red hearts just about everywhere.
“I know people think we just forgot to take down our Valentine’s decorations,” laughed co-owner Pamela Hill. “But we want people to know that all of our cookies are made with love! We got love here year-round. It’s Valentine’s Day at Makeda’s every day because we put love in our cookies. We wanted the love to stay.”
Co-owners and husband and wife duo, Maurice and Pamela Hill have been serving up cookies baked with a whole lot of love and 100% pure butter for 20 years here in Memphis. With two retail locations and distribution in 50 grocery stores across the city, the whole family has been involved with growing the business from a side hustle to thriving success.
“It’s pretty much like a family thing,” Hill said. “Brothers, sisters, cousins, daughters and our son all work here.”
Makeda’s Cookies is named after Hill’s niece, Makeda Denise Hill, who died after a battle with Leukemia in 1997. Hill says her death impacted them all.
“After she passed, it just touched us, in a way. We were so hurt. I don’t know who said to call it Makeda’s but we all said ‘Yes, by all means’.”
Now, Makeda’s legacy lives on and any Memphian who has tried those world-famous butter cookies knows her name and recognizes her smiling face. The Hills built their business from the ground up, selling their cookies to co-workers at their 9 to 5 before taking a leap of faith to run the business full time.
“I didn’t think we could really just make it off cookies. But my husband said ‘You got faith, don’t you?’ I said yes and so I quit my job,” said Hill.
The Hills say the business could survive on butter cookies alone; however, Makeda Cookies offers 15 other flavors and specialty treats like banana pudding and lemon box pie. The Hills have their personal favorite: oatmeal raisin.
The two hope they can continue bringing their butterific brand of love to cookie fans around the city.
“Memphis is all we know. If you can make it in business in Memphis, you can make it anywhere,” said Hill. “Our Memphis people have shown us a lot of love. Memphis has kept us in business for 20 years. You just gotta’ love Memphis!”