After careers in the art industry, the movie industry and restaurant endeavors, Joel Friedman with entrepreneurial skills learned from his father moved to Western North Carolina and opened up a tiny coffeehouse in the sleepy, former American boomtown, Marshall, NC. Marshall was yet to see a revival, but was waiting for just the right mix of community. Once open Zuma Coffee served and continues to serve as a gateway to community connections. Slowly townspeople of Marshall, those living and working in Madison County and visitors to the town began to discover the little coffee shop. At times customers were spilling out on the sidewalks while they enjoyed great coffee, each other’s company and little gems of sweet treats called Zuma Gold Cookies.

When he realized that a growing downtown community market demanded more space, Joel found another location for the coffee shop right across the street. That move would allow Zuma Coffee to accommodate many more eat-in customers for great food, conversation and the now infamous Zuma Jam on Thursday nights. Zuma created not only jobs in Marshall, but also created an integral place for the weaving of the social fabric of the town. The Thursday night jam has allowed locals and visitors to share in the Madison County tradition of mountain music. Visitors may wander in on a Thursday evening to find Grammy award winning musicians playing alongside the talented young musicians from the area. These nights see Zuma yet again bursting at the seams with friends and fun.

With an eye for furthering how he and the Zuma brand could continue contributing to the community Joel explored birthing a new company based on one of the more popular items on the menu, the Zuma Gold Cookies. In March 2011 the Zuma Cookie Co. was born, housed in the kitchen of Zuma Coffee. Baked cookies are now sold to Ingles Grocery Stores. The latest offering of the Zuma Gold is a take and bake frozen cookie, which is available in Ingles across the Asheville area, Earth Fare in Asheville, Johnson City, Knoxville and Boone, the French Broad Food Co-op as well as smaller retailers in the Asheville area. The Zuma Cookie Co. baby is growing up and moving out, down Main Street and is pairing with Asheville based Ultimate Ice Cream to offer all natural, as-locally-sourced-as-possible, sweet treats to a growing Southeastern customer base.

Watch for Zuma Gold Cookie Ice Cream offered by Ultimate and our growing line of Zuma Cookie Co. specialty cookie cakes, take and bake cookies in additional flavors and other sweet treats. Folks can stop by Zuma Too: Cookies & Cones, pick up cookies at their local grocery and soon will be able to order gift packs online.