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Cheesecake Entrepreneur Expands into Meijer Stores

Marcus Leslie puts love into his cheesecake brand. You can see it on his branding, you can see it on his Facebook business page and, mostly, you can taste it.

Leslie has long been fascinated by cheesecake. He spent nearly 15 years perfecting the thick and creamy dessert at home as it became popular. Then he moved to the incubator kitchens at the Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing. Fans could pick up a cheesecake at the Meridian Township Farmers Market as well.

The 2020 winner of a pitch contest sponsored by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership had a goal of transitioning from a popular customer-facing business to becoming an entrepreneur with a wholesale business.

That meant getting the Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes brand in retail locations.

As an early wholesale supporter, Capital City Market led the way. In fact, when the downtown Lansing store opened, Leslie was one of its first vendors.

“They were my first introduction into wholesale,” said Leslie. “They are a large part of the reason I’ve expanded.”

That expansion includes the recent announcement that Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes are now available in participating Meijer stores, where select varieties of the cheesecakes like strawberry swirl, turtle or cookies and cream await fans.

“It was just time to take that leap of faith,” said Leslie, who wants to see his cheesecakes in every household possible so that someday that first bite can be engrained in their memories.

“When you think about food … it’s a common language we all have,” said Leslie. “If there’s a disagreement you may be having, you can say, ‘Let’s eat and talk about it.’ I love that a bite of my cheesecake will shake a memory you have 10, 15 years from now.”

Based on its popularity, the cheesecake is a true recipe for success.