Local woman didn’t dream of becoming a baker, but her cookie business is booming

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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LORENA, Texas (KWTX) - A cookie business born out of local mom’s desire to help adoptive and foster families like hers opened just as COVID-19 was shutting the world down, but online sales have boomed, despite the pandemic.

Andrea Smedshammer opened The Cookie Barn in February 2020 in the kitchen of her home in Lorena.

She calls it “Cookies With a Purpose” because a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of every cookie goes to Encourage One Another, a nonprofit organization that helps support adoptive and foster families.

It’s personal to Andrea and her husband, Joel, who have four biological children, two adopted brothers and are currently fostering a 20-month-old, their ninth foster child to date.

“I really did think this would be a side business out of my home that would raise a little money for Encourage One Another,” Andrea said.

“Little did I know the response would be so overwhelming.”

Andrea, a local realtor, didn’t dream of becoming a baker.

If her son hadn’t needed help in August 2019 raising money for his junior college baseball team in Oklahoma, she might never have gotten into the cookie business.

Andrea put some homemade cookies from a family recipe up for sale on social media and before she knew it, she had customers.

“I sold 150 dozen in two and a half weeks,” she said.

Aundrea launched a website in February 2020, a week before COVID shut just about everything down, everything, it seemed, but the hunger for cookies.

“Although the pandemic produced some very stressful times for families and businesses, it sparked some real interest and attention for The Cookie Barn,” she said.

“All of the sudden people were asking if we shipped cookies.”

Andrea had to figure out how to deliver her product to the masses.

“I began researching what that would look like from packaging and shipping logistics to how to keep the cookies fresh,” she said. By April 2020, The Cookie Barn was shipping cookies nationwide and business hasn’t slowed down since.

“We started with a few dozen orders a week to dozens every day,” Andrea said.

What makes the labor in the kitchen even sweeter is it truly is a labor of love.

A friend in Mansfield started Encourage One Another and Andrea is the board representative in Waco.

“Through the support of our family, community and businesses we partner with, we’ve been able to dream bigger than we ever thought possible on how The Cookie Barn could offer support for struggling foster and adoptive families,” she said.

Support she said is necessary as kids and families deal with everything from trauma to financial difficulties.

“Small things like providing meals and groceries to providing financial support for therapies or programs that insurance doesn’t pay for,” she said.

The baking realtor says she’s happy and thankful to play a small role in helping families nationwide all from her kitchen in Central Texas.

“‘Cookies with a Purpose’ truly is the heart behind every box,” she said.

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