Founder: Jenn Topliff
Year founded: 2017
Product description: The Goldilocks of macaroons—not too sweet, not too chocolaty, not too coconutty, but just right.
Yearly sales: Declined to comment, but the company has shipped over 250,000 this year.
Is it profitable?: No, because all money is spent on "machines and growth" and the construction of a new production facility.
Available at: New Seasons, Otto's Sausage Kitchen, Portland Bottle Shop, Eb & Bean, Radisson Red Hotel, and on Alaska Airlines "medium haul" flights.
Price: $2.75 per individual 'roon, $27 for a nine-pack box.
Before she could master macaroons, Jenn Topliff had to betray a family tradition.
In the 1980s, her father helped create Canada's top-selling cookie, the Decadent Chocolate Chip, for the President's Choice brand. Once she became a parent and began cooking with her kids, the cookie became Topliff's default baking project—until one Thanksgiving, eight years ago, when her mother encouraged her to go in a different direction.
"She just looked at me, stone-faced, and said, 'That's so pedestrian,'" says Topliff, 43. "'Why don't you do something interesting, like make a macaroon?'"
Of course, given her family's pedigree, she couldn't simply "make a macaroon." It had to be, in her words, "the best macaroon in the world."
With Roons, Topliff believes that's what she's got. It took years of experimentation—late nights spent in the kitchen after getting home from her graphic design job—but after hundreds of bakes, she finally landed on the recipe that struck the balance she was searching for: sweet but not overwhelmingly so, with just the right ratio of sweetened and unsweetened coconut, and a non-bitter, dark-chocolate bottom.
"Every bite is part cookie and part chocolate," Topliff says. "Some people eat them upside down, to eat the chocolate first, and then they eat the cookie. And some people like to break them in half. Every single person eats a Roon differently, like an Oreo."
Realizing the cost of living in California would prohibit her "passion project" from advancing beyond an after-work hobby, Topliff and her husband left San Francisco for Portland in 2015. Last year, she closed her design company to focus on Roons full time. It didn't take long to pay off: She landed a deal with Alaska Airlines to serve her macaroons on select flights, forcing her to upscale quickly. She now has eight employees, working out of a commercial kitchen in Industrial Southeast, with plans to move into a bigger facility on Southeast Powell Boulevard soon.
"I know that sounds really dorky, but I feel so much pride that I have a business that employs eight people," Topliff says. "Like, eight people can pay their rent because of my dream."
Guilty pleasure snack: "Ever since launching Roons, I have stopped liking things that are too sweet and become a savory person. I can eat 1 million Castelvetrano olives like any time of the day."