A small cottage business that started as a way for an 8-year-old to earn money for a new bike has made waves in Pueblo’s baking scene, taking third place in the recent Best of Pueblo contest.
It all started last summer when Kennadi Garcia, a student at Villa Bella Expedition Elementary School, told her father, Christopher Garcia, that she wanted a new bike. He suggested they find a way for her to earn some money to help pay her bills.
“Kennady and I always enjoy working in the kitchen together, so I suggested we make cookies to sell to friends and family to make some money,” Garcia recalls.
Through the power of social media, he started posting about Kennad’s funds and “it really blew up,” he said. Before they knew it, she had $100 to buy her new bike, and the whole exercise “turned into what is now a business,” he said.
Garcia himself is no stranger to entrepreneurship having run a DJ, event planning and marketing company for 15 years. However, he admitted that he “never thought” that the father-daughter hobby “would turn into anything, but we saw an opportunity to do something together.”
Through the Colorado Department of Public Health, they are taking advantage of the cottage goods law, which allows them to bake cookies at home and sell them directly to the public. As interest in Kennadi’s Kookies has grown, they are now working towards a manufactured food license so they can sell even more cookies.
“It has grown more than we had anticipated. Early on, Kennady said, ‘Why don’t we send everyone in America a cookie?’ and I knew we couldn’t do it, but it became our goal to ship cookies to all 50 states,” Garcia said.
Again with the help of social media, in just 75 days, they achieved this goal, marking each new state on a map as they sent out the cookies.
“With the overwhelming response from the community, we asked those who had tried Kennadi’s Kookies to nominate us for Best of Pueblo. We made it to the top five, and then we made it to the top three,” Garcia said.
Top readers voting in the Pueblo’s Best Dessert category voted Taffy’s their favorite, and both East Coast Pizza and Kennadi’s Kookies were named finalists. After all, who can resist those irresistible cookie flavors like Pueblo Green Chile, a hot cocoa or cinnamon cookie?
“We’re going to fight for first place next year,” Garcia said.
A family affair
Cookie bakers have involved the whole family in the business.
“We decided it would be fun to name the cookies after family members or childhood memories,” Garcia said.
“The Boys” is a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup cookie enjoyed by Kennadi’s brothers, Landon and Rowan Schamp. “Chocolate Cunk” is an extra large chocolate chunk cookie that is named after the family’s two dogs with pimples.
“Poor Kids Cookie,” is a nod to Garcia’s grandfather. The cherry cookie reminds Garcia of the free cookie samples he and his siblings would repeatedly return to the bakery for on trips to King Soopers where they hoped to get more than one.
“He told us ‘You’re not a poor kid, Grandpa’s going to buy you some more cookies,'” Garcia recalled.
Garcia’s girlfriend, Carrie Schamp, has become “CEO of quality control and taste testing,” he joked.
Each new batch of cookies is baked with a mini cookie bite that Schamp happily takes to give feedback.
“I take my testing seriously,” she said with a laugh, but she can’t name her favorite cookie.
“We’re going to have to create The Girlfriend sampler pack that’s full of a bunch of different mini cookies,” Garcia joked.
Schamp is not alone in her inability to pick a favorite. Kennady herself said she can’t either.
Customers seem to favor the chocolate chip and cinnamon toasted cookies, Garcia said, but because the duo creates what’s “not your average cookie,” flavors include hot cocoa topped with toasted marshmallows and Christmas peppermint bark; apple pie, flavor. and fall pumpkin flavors and Halloween cookies featuring the top three candy picks voted on by Facebook followers.
Garcia is most passionate about Musso Farms Pueblo green chile cookies.
“We take them from mild to very hot with some of their dynamite status chiles. They’re really good,” Garcia said.
Kennadi is not particularly vocal about her business venture and only tells a few close friends about it.
“Most of them don’t know,” she admitted, but her best friend, Kali Andasola, helps with deliveries, and they like to wear their Kennadi’s Kookies T-shirts to school sometimes.
To learn more about Kennadi’s Kookies, visit the Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Reporter Tracy Harmon covers business news. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.
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