Corporate cookie franchise growing locally

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Michelle Shah did a little baking before she bought into the Cookie Advantage franchise, but she never imagined she’d own a cookie business.

Cookie Advantage is a franchise based in Tulsa, Okla., that provides freshly-baked cookies in personalized tins that corporate clients can give as thank you gifts to their clients.

Shah worked for several years as an engineer and took time off when her kids were young. When it was time to go back to work, she decided she wanted to own a business, but nothing with stringent 9-to-5 hours. She poured through franchise listings until she found Cookie Advantage and decided it was a good fit for her.

“I just thought it was such a good idea,” she said.

She has a commercial kitchen in a strip mall, but otherwise doesn’t keep a storefront. She uses a Cookie Advantage recipe that was adjusted at her request for the altitude. And she sells exclusively the gourmet chocolate chip cookies, which makes the process easier for her and for her clients.

“Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies,” she said.

The bakery opened in May of 2011 and the business has been growing steadily since then.

“In the beginning it was just me,” she said. “I did all the baking, the packaging, shipping and marketing.”

Now she has one employee who helps with the baking and packaging, which makes it a lot easier for Shah to focus on marketing and promotions.

During the last holiday season, she worked on building her base of clients. She now sends about 800 cookie tins out a month. And she expects to double that this holiday season, she said.