GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Rontez Vaughan fell into a deep depression and considered abandoning his family after losing his baby brother to gun violence on Aug. 20, 2018.
It was one of the darkest moments of his life. The single father’s life suddenly turned around when his daughter asked him to bake cookies one day.
Now, he’s spending hours in a community kitchen on Clifton Road creating his cookies and making a living selling them.
“Like my chocolate chip cookie has chocolate chip freckles, ’cause my daughter has little freckles,” Vaughan said.
His daughter, Aubrey Ella Vaughan, hooked him on baking when she was 4-year-old.
“I remember how much fun we had while we were making those cookies, the smile on her face as the cookies were baking and the excitement growing,” Vaughan said.
Selling them started with a vision he had about his number one fan: his baby brother.
“I kind of just imagined him going off, telling his friends, like my brother’s cookies. Yo, you got to try them, and that’s where the name came from,” Vaughan said.
Now he makes 23 different flavors. Each one wrapped with care and given a personal touch.
“My aunt Janet helped raise me when I was a little kid. So like oatmeal makes me think of Saturday mornings, eating carbs, eating oatmeal, watching cartoons with aunt Janet,” Vaughan said.
He also makes Butterfinger cookies which he calls his most popular along with banana pudding and sweet potato pie cookies.
“It’s like a snicker doodle, but I put my own spin to it with adding…sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin spice,” Vaughan said.
It’s a sweet success for a man who at one point thought the world would be better without him.
“When you go through something…it doesn’t have to shut you down, but you can come from that and become stronger and create something amazing,” Vaughan said.
He hopes to one day open a cookie shop selling just cookies, milk, tea and coffee.
“I just want the locals to take advantage of this opportunity to get these quality cookies and help this small business,” Vaughan said.
He is also hoping to be a vendor inside the new Nido and Mariana Qubein arena, conference center and hotel.
He says purple is his favorite color and the panther is his spirit animal, so it only seems appropriate to be selling his cookies there.
Locally, you can find them at Bless Sensation 2312 S. Main St. in High Point or Industry 21 Salon Café at 500 E. Cornwallis Dr. in Greensboro.