NORFOLK, Va. - While thousands of small businesses are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, one local bakery in Norfolk is booming.
Serving up ice cream, milkshakes and other sweets including banana pudding, Cookie’s Cakes & More is having a year to remember.
Diane “Cookie” Brown, which is where the name Cookie’s Cakes & More comes from, owns the Norfolk bakery with her husband, Anthony.
“We were actually turning away business,” Cookie Brown said.
While COVID-19’s economic shutdown caused profits for many small businesses to nearly flatline, sales for the bakery have hit record highs.
“We’re doing double than what we were this time last year…at least $10,000 more per month,” Anthony Brown said.
Cookie’s Cakes & More makes custom orders for any occasion. Some of their most popular desserts are their custom cakes and cupcakes. Customers can choose from more than a dozen new cupcake flavors every day, from ice cream sundae to funfetti and peanut butter cup.
“A lot of people with a sweet tooth have been in quarantine,” Cookie Brown said. “They just wanted something sweet to eat.”
The Browns have been in Little Creek Marketplace Plaza for three years, but the bakery started from humble beginnings from inside Cookie’s home kitchen in 2015.
"I started as just doing hobby baking," Cookie Brown said.
Cookie Brown’s hobby grew into a full-time passion.
“It became too big for [our] house," she said. "We built up a customer base of about 300 customers just working from home within a year."
Soon after Cookie said she was laid off from her job as a cost analyst in 2016, she and her husband bought the shop on E. Little Creek Road in Norfolk.
The business took off.
“We couldn’t have done without our customer base and our friends and family," said Cookie Brown.
Anthony Brown said networking through Black BRAND, a Hampton Roads Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, and the community has helped Cookie’s Cakes & More build a bigger customer base.
“This is our third year here, so we’re starting to reach out into the community more, as well as word of mouth,” he said. “Over time, we’ve gotten to, not perfect, but better our products and our processes.”
Cookie’s Cakes & More plans on opening a second bakery. The Browns said a Chesapeake location is in the works.