Congratulations to this year’s Elite 40 Under 40 winner, Brooke Wilson Vitale! Brooke, 29, Owner of Love & Buttercream LLC, was unveiled as the winner on Wednesday, February 8th in front of more than 600 people at the 2017 Oakland County State of the County Address, where she had the honor of introducing County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson.
Patterson praised Vitale, “Brooke is an excellent choice. She is creative, thoughtful, has an incredible business sense and is precisely the kind of young leader we want to keep in Oakland County.”
Born and raised in Oakland County, Brooke graduated from Michigan State University and moved away for to work in Chicago’s restaurant industry. Inspired by her love of baking with her grandmother, Brooke began writing a baking blog as a hobby after hours. Taking a chance on what she calls her “true-calling,” she left a job she loved to pursue her dream of owning her own bakery.
“My husband and I were both born and raised in Oakland County. We decided that when I wanted to start my business and wanted to start our family, Oakland County was the place we wanted to be in.”
Moving back home, Brooke started Love & Buttercream out of her parent’s lower level kitchen and began selling her creations at farmer’s markets. She found success with her from-scratch recipes featuring local and organic ingredients and opened her first store in Royal Oak in 2012 with two team members.
Priding themselves on creating unique experiences for all their customers, Love & Buttercream takes the time to learn about each one to create them something special that couldn’t be done elsewhere. A favorite among local brides and grooms, Love & Buttercream has provided wedding cakes and desserts for over 400 couples in 2016 and is the exclusive provider for wedding cakes for the Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters on the Detroit River.
Notably, the bakery was named Hour Detroit’s “Best Cookies” in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and “Best Locally Owned Bakery” in 2015 and 2016. Love & Buttercream was also named as one of Eater’s “Top 5 Bakeries in Metro Detroit.”
Love & Buttercream has expanded to a team of 29 dedicated young women, all under the age of 35, with various levels of experience. Brooke has built a sense of community and family amongst her team members. She is passionate about helping them develop their craft and grow, whether it’s for a long-term career at her bakery or elsewhere.
With loyal customers, award winning baked goods, and a dedicated team, Brooke opened a second location, Love & Buttercream Too, in Birmingham this past November. Constantly looking to find ways to exceed their customers’ expectations, this new space has allowed them to increase production while also expanding their brand into classes as well as private and public events.
Brooke’s sense of community extends to the many different charity organizations Love & Buttercream is involved with. They donate baked goods to various fundraisers, including a 1,000 cookie display for Camp Mak-A-Dream to benefit children with cancer and providing cakes for Celebration of Life parties for seriously ill children through Kids Gala. Additionally, each holiday season, Love & Buttercream provides over 400 items to benefit the children at Mandy’s Place, an establishment that provides temporary housing for kids in foster care transition, to give them a little bit of hope and excitement during a challenging time.
At 29, Brooke is the youngest winner in the six years of the contest. She lives in Royal Oak with her husband and their 1 year old son. They enjoy spending time with their extended family, going to the park, walking to Downtown Royal Oak, and exploring the area around her new bakery in Birmingham.
“When I found out that I was the Elite 40 Under 40 Winner, I was shocked then extremely grateful. I appreciate the community believing and understanding the vision of Love & Buttercream and what’s behind it. But I think that it’s really a testament to our team and everything that they’ve done over the last 4 and a half years to help Love & Buttercream grow. I’m really grateful to them and to the rest of the community for believing in this little vision that I had.”
In addition to introducing Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at the State of the County Address, Brook will also receive:
- A breakfast meeting with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson
- A feature article, or video, about the Winner’s business or volunteer agency in Oakland County Prosper
- Consultation with Oakland County staff members
- Ticket to attend three Oakland County signature events:
- Economic Outlook Luncheon
- Quality People/Quality (Q2) County Awards
- Business Roundtable Annual Meeting
- Ticket to attend Leadership Oakland’s Breakfast of Champions, Personal Leadership – Young Professionals Panel
- Invitations to Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 events
- Promotion on the Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs website
Brooke was selected out of 400 nominations by a panel of judges and then received the majority of 2,900 public votes that were cast for the three finalists. The other finalists were, Carrie Schochet, 37, CEO/Founder, Purple Squirrel Advisors; and Richard J. Chalmers, D.O., 36, Director of Family Medicine Residency, McLaren Macomb Hospital. The entire Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017, can be found on the EDCA website.
Previous Elite 40 Under 40 class winners include:
- Ali Woerner, Oakland University Assistant Professor of Dance and co-founder and co-director of the non-profit professional modern dance company, Take Root; Class of 2016
- Melody Arabo, Walled Lake Consolidated School Districtteacher and former Michigan Teacher of the Year; Class of 2015
- Susan Kruger, President and CEO, SOAR Learning, Inc.; Class of 2014
- Erica Coulston, Owner of Walk the Line to SCI Recovery; Class of 2013
- Hajj Flemings, CEO/Founder of Brand Camp University; Class of 2012