Raleigh, N.C. — The Cookie People, a dessert truck and stand featuring scrumptious, freshly-baked cookies, has become a staple in Raleigh since its inception in 2008. I talked to April Morey, who owns the business with her husband, Darrin, to get an inside look at their tasty, successful venture.
"This business his our baby, and we love Raleigh, so we are very proud," said April.
April has big plans for her cookie business - she is already partnering with local colleges and small businesses, and she hopes to soon expand her staff, hiring people with special needs to help her bake. Before we talked about that, though, she told me the story of how she got started.
Before The Cookie People was even an idea, April was struggling to make ends meet as a single mom.
"I had always heard the expression, 'Do what you love and you will succeed,' and then I thought how I enjoyed baking and how it was something I had grown up with," said April. "On my first visit to the State Farmers Market as a vendor, it was just me and a small card table. I was feeling pretty insecure about it, but, in one day, I made enough money to pay my bills for the rest of the month, and people seemed to love the treats. It was instant gratification, and I was hooked."
She wasn't alone for long, though. When April's now-husband Darrin came into her life, he too had an entrepreneurial spirit and was interested in the business. "We challenged ourselves to pay for our wedding with summer market sales, and we paid for our wedding rings with single dollar bills that represented lots of chocolate chip cookie sales," April said.
During the first few cookie years, April and Darrin treated their business as an extra way to make money. "We soon saw that this business could support our family, but we needed to do it full-time in order to help it grow, so we left our jobs," said April.
The Cookie People
Since, the couple's hard work has turned into a successful cookie business that the area is crazy about. Darrin and April sell cookies weekly at local farmers markets and constantly pop-up at events in their food truck. All the cookies are baked with as many local ingredients as possible, including honey from Bee Blessed and strawberries from local farms in the spring.
"It's a great feeling to be friends with the people who make your ingredients," said April. "We trust the product and love supporting other local small businesses."
The community involvement doesn't stop there. "We love partnering with NC State." said April. "I graduated from NCSU, and my son Ben is a sophomore there. We love to hire students to help sell the cookies, and, this year, we have become the topic for several business-related senior classes - students are learning about our business and writing a business plan for us throughout the semester. We use NCSU howling cow ice cream in our cookie ice cream sandwiches, because a small business and a big local university make for a great win-win partnership."
April will also lead a cookie baking class in February at Southern Seasons in Chapel Hill, and that's just the start of many classes she hopes to teach to kids and adults.
When I asked April what her favorite cookie is, she told me about the Molasses Crinkle, a cookie made with brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
"This is a very nostalgic cookie, she said. "My grandmothers and my mom made these cookies and taught me how to make them. These cookies take us back to a time when people didn't buy everything from a store and baking for your family was a simple way to show love. And, from a baking standpoint, they come out beautiful every time - adding a small drop of water to each dough ball makes the tops crinkle after they bake, and that texture tastes delicious."
Other cookie flavors include basics like chocolate chip, oatmeal golden raisin, triple chocolate, peanut butter, sugar, snickerdoodle, white chocolate macadamia nut and more, but what really makes this business special is their cookie flavors that you've probably never tried before, like their root beer float, lemonade and Mexican hot chocolate cookies.
"We love offering a sweet treat product that doesn't contain additives or preservatives," said April. "Cookies should not have a shelf life of six months!"
Where can you find The Cookie People?
The Cookie People cookies can be found every weekend at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, and they can also be ordered online and shipped to you. Just recently, Treat, an ice cream and coffee shop in downtown Raleigh, started selling the cookies at their dessert bar on weekends.