In a nondescript commercial plaza on Packard east of Carpenter, a storefront window is shaded against a northern exposure. But above it, an appealing white sign for “marzipops™ marzipan lollipops and candy treats” often inspires curious knocks on the locked door. If
Weinman or a member of her small team is there, they will explain that it’s mostly a ship-to-consumer business, with local pickups by appointment.
The marzipan—a confection based on sugar, almond meal, and water—arrives in buckets that these culinary crafters color, shape, and adorn into sweet gifts and favors for theme parties, special events, and holidays. (Marzipan hamantaschen for Purim were big in March; this month Easter bunnies and chicks are in season.) It’s all handmade and packaged to order, so there’s no stock on hand for retail sales, yet tens of thousands of pieces sold over the recent winter holidays.
Weinman’s growing niche business is a quintessential tale of mompreneurship: the Brooklyn native took her Harvard MBA into the publishing world, then left the workforce to start a family with Aaron Fried in New York, where the U-M alum had earned his own MBA from Columbia. “It’s a very cliché story,” she says with cheerful efficiency, “When I had to make my son a cake for his birthday, I said, ‘That was fun!’ And so I went back to school and studied cake design.” She started a custom cake business, then came here in 2007 for Fried’s assignment to run Midwest sales for MetLife and to live near his side of the family.
“It was supposed to be three to five years, and here we are!” Weinman says from the former hair salon she repurposed in 2020, just three miles from their Ann Arbor home. Her husband now helps at Marzipops too; their two sons are at Harvard and in Israel, with plans to enroll at Northwestern.
Weinman met Amanda Bordine, now a key employee/artisan, decorating cakes at a bakery in Ypsilanti. After it closed, she shared space at Sweet Heather Anne on N. Main before its move to Westgate.
Compared to the fondant she’d been using, she found marzipan “a much more delicious way to craft” cake toppers. At Marzipops, she turned it into a fun focus that offers shippable scalability of a soft, shelf-stable sweet with broad creative possibilities for design lines and custom orders.
A 2016 New York Times shout-out for her Passover-based marzipan matzos and ten plague pops was certainly helpful—as is their inclusion in Zingerman’s mail order. Other online outlets include her own website, marzipops.com.