Cheryl Smith

Owner of Detroit Teas

My Story

As a native of Detroit, Cheryl was the only girl raised in a family of four with three brothers. Growing up Cheryl would play what was considered “boys’ games” which included model cars, action figures, little green soldiers, baseball, and bikes. Considered a tomboy, she always dreamed about having tea parties. A voracious reader of books such as “Gone with the Wind, Heidi, Little Women and Anne of Green Gables,” the sagas often involved young ladies who attended fancy lunches, dinners and tea parties in a grand fashion.

As a young child, her family were members of Joseph Campau Avenue Church of God. Every Friday evening, the family would participate in Bible study at various homes in Detroit. The bible study group studied the Word of God and visited with each other’s family. At events hosted by Mother Erie Alice Merritt, warm tea cakes were a staple item which Cheryl fell in love with. However, the tea cakes ended when Mother Merritt made her transition. Others attempted to replicate the tea cakes, but without the recipe they were unsuccessful.

Later in life, Cheryl began to miss the tea cakes and decided to search for the recipe. Her husband’s Aunt Beatrice London, who lived in Arkansas, would visit her Detroit family once a year, bringing a pan of homemade tea cakes with her. Cheryl researched different cookbooks and tried various recipes, but none came close to the original recipe by Mother Merritt or Aunt Bea. For years, Cheryl asked her husband’s aunt to share the recipe but her aunt, like most women raised in the south, did not have the recipe in writing–making it from memory.

Finally, Aunt Beatrice collaborating with her daughter Michelle teamed up to develop the recipe. Aunt Bea would make the tea cake recipe while Michelle approximated the ingredient amounts, writing them down. After many attempts, they developed the ‘winning recipe.’ Aunt Bea and Michelle forwarded the recipe which, to this day, Cheryl cherishes which yields 10 to 12 dozen tea cakes, depending on their size.

Prior to participating in local Farmers Markets, Cheryl frequently had customers that she shared the tea cakes with. It soon became a passion of hers to own a tea shop and share tea cakes with more people.

Cheryl began to collect novelty teapots after her children grew up and left home. The teapots were all shapes and sizes, representing houses, buildings, animals, fruit, vegetables and appliances. The vision of owning a tea house began to grow stronger, and Cheryl began to collect beautiful China where she would structure themed tea parties and wear flowered dresses, a string of pearls, hats and gloves.

Later on, a friend, Fran, organized a book club where Cheryl began to host annual tea parties, sharing the novelty teapots and displaying them throughout the house. The tea party included the main attraction–tea, with tea cakes, fruit and petite sandwiches. This experience of dressing up and using beautiful tea sets was exactly what Cheryl visualized when she read those book classics as a child.

Today–Cheryl wants a business location where she can display her love of tea and teacakes with others. She visualizes a place that is warm, friendly and elegant where people will feel comfortable to mingle with others, sit down and have a cup of tea. A place where customers are able to read, study for a test, work crossword puzzles, or just simply come to relax and ease their mind. Chery is committed to making her lifetime dream of a reality.

Thank you for your support!

Get in touch!


(313) 477 – 5587


Detroit, MI