New Centerville shop praised by Oprah opens Friday

Nonnie Waller’s Traditional Southern — an internet business that sends cakes, chocolates and flowers throughout the country and which earned a game-changing shout-out from Oprah Winfrey more than a decade ago — will open its first retail storefront Friday at Cross Pointe Center in Centerville.

A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the new 4,500-square-foot shop called Nonnie Waller’s Parlor, located between Marshall’s and Outback Steakhouse in the retail center at 101 E. Alex-Bell Road.

Co-owner Lisa Caldwell said she and co-owner Steve Crisman plan to open additional retail locations, focusing on Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis, and are considering a franchise program to open stores on the east and west coasts, where many of Nonnie Waller’s online customers are located.

Nonnie Waller’s Parlor will open with nine employees, Caldwell said.

The internet business built its national reputation on its southern-style pound cakes, truffles and flowers. Opening the retail shop will allow owners to add several other products and services, including clothing, jewelry, home goods and gifts, Caldwell said. The shop will also offer an espresso and tea lounge and a community room.

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Following a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting with South Metro Chamber of Commerce and Centerville officials, the grand opening will include samples, hourly giveaways and live music from 2 to 4 p.m.

Nonnie Waller’s Traditional Southern was founded in the 1990s in New Jersey by Marnie Carmichael, a South Carolina native. In late 2000, Oprah Winfrey received a Nonnie’s cake from friend Maria Shriver and liked it so much she mentioned it on a pre-Christmas television segment entitled “My Favorite Things” and devoted a full page to the cake in O magazine. More than 12,000 orders followed, nearly all put on a waiting list as the small cottage business tried to keep up.

At about the same time, Caldwell, a marketing consultant who had worked for NCR in Dayton, and Crisman became business partners with the Nonnie’s founder, moving production and operations to Spring Valley. The pair bought out the company’s founder in 2009 and are now equal co-owners.

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