New dad opens 24th CC at Briarwood Mall
Cheerfully toting his baby son through Briarwood Mall, where he has become affectionately known as the “cheesecake guy,” Sean Brezzell is both a new dad and the co-owner of 24th Cheesecakerie (known as 24th CC at Briarwood Mall). Brezzell, who pours his heart into making cheesecakes, keep family and the people he serves at the top of his priority list.
Brezzell has run the cheesecake-by-the-slice shop with his mother, Vicki Brezzell, and grandmother, Barb Wilson, since May, only two months after he and his wife, Lisa, welcomed their new baby boy, Sean, into the world.
“My son is the inspiration,” Brezzell said of opening his new business.
Family catering business
Brezzell is no stranger to the family baking business. He has been involved with his mother’s and grandmother’s catering business, Vic and Barb Plus Sean, since 1981. “I did a lot of their birthday and wedding cakes and my mom kept suggesting I do cheesecakes,” Brezzell said.
Working as a pastry chef for the Ypsilanti Marriott, he got to try out many cheesecake flavors. He started entering bakeoff competitions, which introduced him to a representative from the Briarwood Mall leasing office, who suggested that Brezzell rent some space at the mall.
Brezzell also had another strategy— traveling to area restaurants to let them taste his products—which paid off, as Argus Farm Stop and Naked Burrito in Ann Arbor now stock his cheesecakes.
Many of his flavor ideas, he said, come from family members who challenge him to try things. Flavors run the gamut from a Starbucks-inspired Caramel Macchiato cheesecake to pumpkin, chocolate, strawberry, lemon, blueberry, and plain cheesecakes, along with vegan and gluten-free options.
Although cheesecake is “front and center” in the business, Brezell’s core mission is to share knowledge with people, because, as he says, people are at the heart of everything he does. “You can have the greatest products in the world, but there’s a problem if you don’t connect to people.”
Family and priorities
Working with family, he said, is easy because they have a lot of respect for and listen to each other. For example, the store’s name is family inspired, as Brezzell’s birthday, and that of his mother and grandmother, fall on the 24th of each of different months.
Brezzell also feels lucky as he gets to spend time with little Sean every day. “I love the fact that he gets to see what I do,” Brezzell said. If there’s anything that being a new dad and business owner has taught him, he said, it is about priorities.
Brezzell plans to open two additional stores in the metro area in the next year.
To find out more about 24th Cheesecakerie and its offerings, visit 24thcc.com.
Get To Know Sean Brezzell
What is your idea of the perfect home-cooked meal?
Mac and cheese and greens, corn on the cob, with bbq short ribs. My mom makes the best bbq short ribs.
Favorite place to take little Sean for some baby-style fun?
Arboretum. Although we haven’t taken him there yet, we want to because it is beautiful. My mom used to work across the street.
Favorite cheesecake flavor?
Hazelnut, because it was the first flavor I made that was not a plain cheesecake and I thought it tasted amazing.
What is your favorite place to chill as a family when you have some downtime?
I’m a homebody. It’s where we connect as a family.