Business Spotlight: Cookie Occasion
What is the perfect occasion to eat a cookie? How about any day that ends in "y" and has 24 hours? Cookies are little celebrations of life that are just as sweet when enjoyed with an afternoon tea as when they are wrapped up and gifted to make someone's day.
Kate Sawyer, owner and operator of Cookie Occasion, knows the power of these delectable morsels. She started working at Cookie Occasion at age 14. Her graduation from Mount Royal University coincided with the owner's decision to sell the business, and Kate and her mother's desire to purchase it. Today the gourmet cookies have been delighting Calgarians for nearly 30 years.
"The main driving factor behind our success is community," says Kate. "The support we receive as a local family business both in Marda Loop and the entire city is astonishing. In a world of wonderful other bake shops in the city, we have maintained a loyal following based on the consistency of our quality ingredients and freshness of our end product. We also believe that customer service and relationships remain as important as ever even in this new digital age."
While the recipes do not change — as there is no need to change what Calgary cookie lovers have craved for nearly three decades — Kate has modernized and streamlined the production process to ensure maximum efficiency and faster customer response times.
"The best thing about my business is the ability to make people smile, offer a little surprise and bring sweetness into the daily life of others," she says.
It's not easy being an entrepreneur, but Cookie Occasion rises to the challenge. "Our business is definitely affected by the local economy and added pressures from taxes and operation costs like wages. We are learning how to pivot, from opening up our kitchen to other small businesses to introducing a mobile unit that focuses on community impact, to reducing our hours at our brick-and-mortar location. We are continuously trying to find the balance between profit and our commitment to providing a fair price."
Like many company owners in Calgary, however, Kate is impressed with the business community and how entrepreneurs are redefining the landscape of the city.
"My favorite thing about Calgary is our resilience. Witnessing the younger generation coming up with and exploring all these new interesting opportunities we have not yet been exposed to helps keep Calgary fresh. Calgarians who may have fallen on hard times are turning to exploring their passions to earn an income. It's great to watch the evolution of the city."
Cookie Occasion cooks up more than delectable treats. The company has (and is growing) a focus on social responsibility. Kate explains, "The Rococo by CO trailer is a social enterprise that is dedicated to raising awareness and creating an authentic supportive community in Calgary for families who have children with special needs and abilities."
This initiative is personal, as her son has a rare genetic disorder called Potocki-Lupski Syndrome.
"Providing community and treats for these families is something we are truly looking forward to," she continues. "We have crafted a line of delicious treats from gourmet ice cream sandwiches to mini doughnuts and cotton candy creations!"
It may be hard to choose among the many delicious cookies at Cookie Occasion, but it's okay. You can go back time and time again and try them all! While the Molasses Mountain Mix (a molasses base with smooth white chocolate and trail mix providing a nice combination of sweet and savory notes) is Kate's personal favourite, Triple Sin (which combines white, dark, and milk Callebaut chocolate in Cookie Occasion's classic batter) is a fan favourite. You can also devour the Smarties cookie, savour the Almond Amaretto, or linger over the Caramel Cappuccino, to name a few.
"We sweeten every day with the people we are able to provide our goods to. From a meeting downtown to a birthday gift recipient, our cookies provide the perfect dose of sugar into the day-to-day life we all experience," Kate concludes.
Sweeten your day by learning more at www.cookieoccasion.com online, @CookieOccasionYYC on Facebook, and @cookieoccasion on Instagram and Twitter.