Max Surnow Earns JVS Rising Entrepreneur Award

Southfield Business Owner Bakes His Way to Success with Family Cookie Recipe

The 17th annual JVS Strictly Business Networking and Awards Luncheon will take place Thursday, June 12, at The Henry in Dearborn. During the event, West Bloomfield resident Max Surnow, co-founder of Cooper Street Cookies, will be presented with the third annual JVS Rising Entrepreneur Award.

“The award was created to honor an individual who has demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to business and the community,” says Leah Rosenbaum, JVS interim president and CEO.

An honor grad from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and a prime recruit for a six-figure finance job in New York City, Surnow watched many of his peers leave the state to find jobs.

He opted to stay in Michigan and launched Cooper Street Cookies in 2011 with his mom, Elaine. Soon after, his brother Sam joined in. The company was built on the family’s coveted mandel bread recipe. Similar to Italian biscotti, mandel bread are twice-baked, which makes them crispy and crunchy.

In three years, Cooper Street Cookies has grown from a home-based business to a thriving company with 30 employees and a new facility in Southfield. Half of the employees are part of the JVS Supported Employment Program, which helps people with disabilities become successful workers.

The cookies are sold online and in 200 stores across the country including regional and national chains such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Hillers, Plum Market and Busch’s. They will soon be featured at Sam’s Club as well.

“Max is a rising star who’s committed to creating jobs,” says Kristin Gross, JVS Board member and Strictly Business co-chair. “Max’s entrepreneurial drive and commitment to the local community sets him apart. He seized the opportunity to hire people from the JVS Supported Employment Program, and he is committed to helping them succeed.”

The Strictly Business luncheon will feature Ford COO Mark Fields as honorary chair and keynote speaker. More than 800 business and community leaders are expected to attend this dynamic event to hear Fields speak. In addition to Fields and Surnow, event-goers will also meet Jacques Panis, president of Shinola and recipient of the 2014 JVS Business Leadership Award.

The luncheon is a fundraiser to support JVS in its efforts to put metro Detroiters back to work.