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John And Vallee Rumore: Pioneers in Vegan Baking

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John and Vallee Rumore, owners of Cinnaholic at The Village at Lee Branch, off Highway 280 in Hoover. (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)
By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson
The Birmingham Times

With the only Cinnaholic cinnamon roll bakery franchise in the state of Alabama, John and Vallee Rumore have found their dairy & lactose-free, egg-free and cholesterol-free products are instant hits.

“Ironically, 80 percent of our customers don’t know it’s vegan, and they love the product,” said John. “You would never know it’s missing eggs or dairy.”

Even the couple remembers falling in love with the rolls at first bite.

“When we tasted the product …. we were sold,” said John, who, along with his wife Vallee, owns the Cinnaholic store at The Village at Lee Branch, off Highway 280 in Hoover. “We have family and friends who have allergies to egg and dairy, so we thought it’d be a great concept to bring to Birmingham and it’s been received really well.”

John and Vallee, who live in Patton Creek, “opened (Cinnaholic) in September 2020, right in the middle of COVID,” he said.

Prior to opening his Hoover store, John said Cinnaholic’s success and expansion grabbed his attention as he learned it landed in the top 500 in Entrepreneur Magazine as one of fastest growing bakery franchises.

What accounts for much of the growth is the variety of toppings which include crunchy pieces (pecans and homemade pie crumbs); chewy, fresh fruit slices (peaches, bananas and strawberries); creamy toppings (including cream cheese and flavored frostings); and delectable, sweet sauces like caramel and chocolate.

John’s favorite is “Maw Maw’s Pecan Pie,” featuring cream cheese on top of the cinnamon roll, adorned with fresh pie crumbs, pecans, caramel and maple frosting. It was developed by a Cinnaholic store in Knoxville.

With more than 100 stores in the U.S. and Canada “The Cookie Monster” rates as the customer’s favorite cinnamon roll – topped with cream cheese, homemade cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce, John said. It can be purchased at his store as well.

But, at his Hoover store, the “Old Skool” comes in first place hands down – which features a fresh-baked cinnamon roll topped only with a generous layer of warm, vanilla frosting.

In addition to cinnamon rolls, customers can order brownies, cookies, edible cookie dough, chocolate chip banana bread, “and, we also do cakes,” said John. “We do a 10-inch cookie cake that we decorate, and you can choose your frosting and up to three toppings.”

There’s also a cinnamon roll cake. These start with the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, which are pinched and molded into a cake shape, with frosting and up to five toppings added on top. “Bring your sweet tooth and your creativity when you’re ready to place your order,” said John.

So, here’s how it works when you place your order.

Fresh and hot is the name of the game when it comes to serving these treats, said the owner.

“We’re baking about every 15 minutes, so you get a hot, fresh roll every time you come into the store.”

You can get a basic roll for under five dollars and the price increases as you add toppings. There are more than 20 embellishments available.

In The Genes

John, 58, is a Birmingham native and a 1983 graduate of Homewood High School. Vallee is from Brewton, Alabama.

Since he and his family love to cook, starting this bakery seemed like a natural fit, he said.

Before he opened Cinnaholic in 2020, John worked in his family’s tunnel car wash business for 35 years “so (this is) quite a change. But we like it and we like interacting with the customers,” he said.

Cinnaholic piqued his interest after he and his brother sold their last family car wash business in 2018.

John and Vallee then made a trip to the Cinnaholic store in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a product tasting confirmed their next business venture. He said they loved the taste and opened their Alabama store in September 2020.

And John says another storefront is certainly on the horizon. “We plan on adding another location when we find the right spot,” he said.

And although John and Vallee (Cinnaholic owners) are not vegan, John says they are definitely “headed in that direction.”

Meanwhile, if you’d like to try one of Cinnaholic’s creative menu options, visit Cinnaholic at 270 Doug Baker Boulevard or check out their menu or place an online order at www.cinnaholichoover.com.