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First-Time Business Owner Rachael Nichols is Introducing Le Macaron to Novi, Michigan

The Farmington Hills lifer opened her first franchise location in October.

Rachael Nichols has lived in Farmington Hills most of her life. Nichols attended Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, Nichols worked for the Chrysler Corporation as a supervisor for manufacturing. During her training period, she also achieved her master’s in engineering management from the University of Michigan in Dearborn. 

Nichols used to take her eight-year-old son out for macarons at their local cafe, but when they suddenly stopped selling them, she dubbed the area a macaron desert. Nichols always knew she wanted to own her own business one day, and after exploring different franchise brands, she landed on filling the French-pastry gap in her market by bringing Le Macaron to the Novi area.

Nichols, along with her life partner of 20 years, Julius Gajdos, opened Michigan’s first Le Macaron as a kiosk located in Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Michigan last October and has received fabulous feedback since. 

1851 Franchise: Tell us a little bit about your background.

Rachael Nichols: I was born in Southern California. My dad was a traveling salesman, so we moved quite a bit when I was young. The last place we moved to was Michigan, and I’ve been here since 4th grade. I went to Oakland University in Rochester, then I started working for the Chrysler Corporation right out of school. I spent time in their training class then was positioned as a supervisor for manufacturing. At the same time as my training, I attended the University of Michigan in Dearborn, where I obtained my master’s in engineering management. I also have my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. 

My mom and twin sister also live in the area. I have an eight-year-old son and my life partner of 20 years, Julius Gajdos, is my partner in ownership.

1851: Why did you decide to go into franchising, and how did you choose Le Macaron? 

Nichols: For the past year, I had been looking around to see what interested me. I always knew I wanted to start my own business. My first interest was starting a juice bar or smoothie place, but the more I looked into it, the more hesitant I became.

I saw Le Macaron on the internet — I can't really remember where. My son and I love macarons. We would always treat ourselves at the local cafe then they stopped selling them. I looked around and realized we were in a macaron desert.

1851: Why do you think Le Macaron is a good fit for your community?

Nichols: Novi is home to a lot of shopping areas. The mall that I’m in has been there since the 1970s. It's more of a regional mall, and people will come here from 30 miles away to shop. It is very upscale and very high-traffic. I’m also considering opening in Ann Arbor — I’ve had a few malls reach out to me to inquire.

1851: Do you work with any other local businesses or charitable organizations?

Nichols: So far, we’ve worked with a local Susan G. Komen foundation, they were a big part of our grand opening. We donated about $250.

We also have worked with the Novi public library where we donated a few things they could use for their Culture Month in December. They were focusing on France, and they asked me to donate macarons. I definitely want to do more with the public libraries.

1851: So far, what’s been your favorite part of being a business owner?

Nichols: I didn’t really know what to expect to be running my own Le Macaron business. The customers are the most fun and rewarding part so far. They are all really excited and happy, it has been fun to make people smile.