You’re riding down Airways Boulevard when you see the sign. As you pull into the parking lot, you see a wall of tributes that read “RIP Dolph.” Inside Makedas Cookies is a corner dedicated to Young Dolph, the famed rapper who died as a victim of a drive-by shooting at the store in November 2021. At that time, Makedas Cookies went from a Memphis staple to a hip-hop landmark.
Now, the eyes of the nation have returned to Memphis with the tragic death of Tyre Nichols. A 29-year-old Black father who was severely beaten by multiple Memphis police officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Nichols died three days late as a result of the injuries sustained from the attack. Five officers, all Black, involved in the beating were fired on Jan. 20. A sixth officer was also “relieved of duty” on Jan. 30, and a seventh was suspended on Jan. 31.
Back to Makedas Cookies.
When you walk out of the cookie shop, which has become a haven for Memphis residents – another customer pulls into the parking lot while playing a mix of Dolph’s tracks.
“These cookies are more than cookies,” Makedas co-owner Maurice Hill told rolling out. “They say cookies are comfort food, and people were getting comforted coming to buy cookies, man.”
Hill spoke to rolling out about his iconic business and the emotional climate in Memphis since the latest tragedy.
What has life in Memphis the city been like since the death of Tyre Nichols?
It’s a lot of broken hearts. It’s just pain, pain is the word.
What is it like operating a business that frequently provides comfort for citizens of this community?
When they declared a pandemic, we didn’t close, and people were running in here because people want to feel normal during an abnormal time. So, we were here. You know how you get in that door and say, “Whew, I made it.” We were like a lifeline.
What has the journey been like as you approach 25 years of being in business?
It’s been amazing. It’s been a journey. It’s been hard, and it’s just been fun because I’ve been here since day one.
Black folks have been doing it for us. Folks have been bringing in children, and now their children have been bringing in children. So yeah, we’re still here.
Young Dolph was a regular a customer, wasn’t he?
That guy was great. He’d been coming here for 10 years, and he loved coming here. Everybody comes here, but he specifically loved coming here because he loved the cookies.
Was it difficult re-opening this location?
It was a challenge because we’d never been closed before. The tragedy happened and we were closed for 10 months. This was our money store because we’ve been here for so long. The money started getting low and we were like, “We’ve got to open back up.” So, we opened back up [last September] and the world started coming.