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Jamming with a lil bit of cookies on Maine Street: Lil Jam Cookies opens its doors

April 5, 2024

Alex Spear
HOT OUT OF THE OVEN: : Lil Jam opens on Maine Street in place of Grandpa's Garden, bringing new baked goods and innovative drinks to Brunswick's downtown. Owner Rebecca Singleton shares her visions for the future of Lil Jam.

Drop cookies just dropped in Brunswick. Lil Jam opened its Maine Street doors almost four weeks ago under the guidance of Rebecca Singleton and her staff, serving up decadent drop cookies, picturesque sugar cookies as well as espresso beverages and Lotus energy drinks.

Since Singleton started selling cookies in 2020, she has continuously sought to innovate and expand her endeavor, while continuing to teach full time at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham.

Singleton made her first cookie sales on Facebook and Instagram in 2020, selling Valentine’s Day-themed sugar cookies. She sold 45 dozen and decided to get licensed to make and sell food out of her home. In June 2022, she opened a storefront in Lisbon Falls, where she expanded to include gourmet drop cookies. When Singleton’s sole employee moved last December, she began looking to move her store to Brunswick. It was a welcome change—the Lisbon Falls location didn’t have a kitchen, so Singleton was still baking out of her home until now. She also hoped that Brunswick would bring more foot traffic than the former location.

Finding a promising space in the former Grampa’s Garden location, the move has brought change and innovation.

“Since going to Brunswick, the drop cookies have taken way off, which I wanted anyway,” Singleton said. “The sugar cookies are very time consuming. I love doing it, but they are a lot of work and a lot of time.”

With the move to Brunswick, Lil Jam has also shifted to incorporate coffee and energy drinks into its menu. Singleton purchased the Grampa’s Garden espresso machine, whose career has spanned storefronts.

The rest of Singleton’s team consists of her school connections. Marybeth Poulin, a coworker at Mt. Ararat, takes the lead on baking for Lil Jam. Alyssa Folger and Viven McClenahan, who staff the storefront, were Singleton’s former students. While having trusted employees has been a benefit of Singleton’s teaching career, juggling teaching with her business has been no small task.

“It’s like having two full-time jobs. It is completely all consuming. But I also feel like putting in the work now, that hopefully I can reap the rewards later,” Singleton said. “My goal is to get the shop in a place where my employees can run the shop. I didn’t necessarily want to create a job for myself, but I wanted to create a business that I can own and run and possibly open other shops that other employees can run.”

Summer break will provide Singleton with more time to experiment and develop her business further. She crafts her own drop cookie recipes from a base recipe and estimates that she has about 50 flavors in her repertoire. But she doesn’t want to stop at cookies—Singleton sees inventive brownies, blondies and cupcakes in her future. Currently, chocolate chip is the store’s bestseller, followed by caramel sea salt and one of Singleton’s innovations: the almond croissant cookie.

“The almond croissant is a huge hit with everyone.… They fly out of here,” Folger said.

Currently, Folger is learning how to prepare the cookie dough, in addition to her baking and inventory-assessment responsibilities, which already keep her quite busy.

“On a busy day, we could be cooking cookies nonstop—tray in, tray out,” Folger said. Singleton thinks Lil Jam’s storefront is doing well but is frustrated by the unpredictability of weather during the opening weeks, which has led to power outages and less foot traffic on the streets, among other complications in town.

Singleton has big hopes for Lil Jam, which is named after her two children, Lillie and James, who are both currently college students.

“I think it started out with, ‘Hey, I’m just decorating cookies and let’s see if they’ll sell.’ And then, now I’m to the point where I would love to just be able to … take it as far as it can go,” Singleton said.


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