Cookies Cravings owner turns baking hobby into a business

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One of the first calls Lindsey Terwanger made after signing the lease for her new Italian Village cookie shop, Cookie Cravings, was to Melissa DeGraw Metz, director of membership at Experience Columbus. When the shop’s doors opened two months later, in December 2011, Lindsey had used relationships and marketing opportunities provided through her Experience Columbus membership to help lay the foundation for her business’s success.

Terwanger had learned firsthand about the benefits of Experience Columbus membership in her former position as general manager of Café Corner, another Experience Columbus member.

“I had developed a fantastic relationship with Melissa,” she says.

Cookie Cravings had its beginning as a hobby, with Lindsey and a friend baking and decorating cookies at home. When family members and other friends got a taste of the delicious creations being produced, the orders started to roll in.  Both women were working full-time or going to school, and, eventually, demand became so great they had to turn down customers.

That was when Terwanger, her husband, Matt, and mother-in-law, Joan, started to talk about turning baking into a real business, and Cookie Cravings was born. The small, family-owned operation specializes in glazed, decorated cookies, which can be customized to nearly any size, shape or color.  But Cookie Cravings is focused on the taste as much as the design, offering a variety of flavors. Some are on the unusual side, such as Maker’s Mark Bourbon caramel, honey cardamom, and lemon lavender.

“As far as I know, we’re the only decorated cookie business doing gourmet flavors,” Terwanger says.

Matt, a former chef, is the main baker and decorator, and currently the only full-time employee.

“He’s the one who brings all the flavors to the table,” she says. “I like to be sure the cookies look pretty.”

Joan handles bookkeeping and finances. They hope the business will eventually grow to support them all with full-time jobs.

And Experience Columbus is helping them achieve that growth.

“I would say that, of our big orders, Experience Columbus has been responsible for two-thirds of them one way or the other,” Terwanger says.

Cookie Cravings has taken full advantage of the many networking and marketing opportunities offered through Experience Columbus membership.

Evening Exchanges provide a forum to generate member-to-member business from a pool of 850-plus hospitality industry attractions, service providers and suppliers. Customers have included the Columbus Clippers, 200Columbus the Bicentennial and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.

At a New Member Orientation, Terwanger met an organizer for A Date 2 Remember. Donating cookies for that event resulted in significant business from other companies who discovered her product there.

For more information about how membership in Experience Columbus can benefit your business, contact Melissa DeGraw Metz at 614-222-6126 or mdegrawmetz@experiencecolumbus.com.

To learn more about Cookie Cravings, visit CookieCravingsBakery.com.