Cinnamon cider bars and ‘Booze Munch’: Mom-daughter team hope to win big with alcohol-infused cookies and treats
UPDATE: The Cookie Bar received a $10,000 pledge Tuesday afternoon, bringing the company's Fundable total to $10,825 and putting the cookie makers in first place for the crowdfunding contest.
Wendy and Jennifer Baumgartner want to have a street address to give to customers looking for alcohol-infused cookies.
“I think that’s the question we get most,” Jennifer said. “Where are you located? Where do we go to buy your cookies?”
The mother-daughter team, which runs the Cookie Bar, has a loyal following of Las Vegans who buy their desserts from the Cookie Bar booth at First Friday and Vegas Streats. Tourists also have found the company online and ordered goodies for local celebrations.
But the chefs have no physical address to give customers — at least for now.
The Cookie Bar is one of seven finalists, and the only company from Nevada, competing in a national crowdfunding contest to win more than $10,000. The Baumgartners want to use the money to open a brick-and-mortar shop.
Sponsored by the National Association for the Self-Employed, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and Fundable, the contest aims to help small business startups. The Cookie Bar is the only food company entered.
Fundable provides each enterprise with a website on which to post a company profile. Investors then can back the company by pledging funds, from $5 to $2,000. In the case of the Cookie Bar, backers receive baked treats in exchange.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Cookie Bar was third in the contest. More than 125 small businesses entered.
The Baumgartners hope to raise $10,000 in 30 days. Tuesday afternoon, they were up to $825 with 12 backers and nine days remaining. The company in first place, a smartphone shopping app named LocalLux, had raised $3,070 from 18 backers as of Monday.
The finalists have until Sept. 20 to hit their goal. The first company to do so wins $10,000 plus the money raised.
For the Baumgartners, winning the contest would push their company to the next level and help them achieve the dream they envisioned when they first conceived the Cookie Bar.
“We were together at a family gathering last year and we were talking about potential business opportunities with the baking skills we had,” Wendy said.
Neither Baumgartner has a culinary degree or special training, but both have been baking cookies for holidays and family events for decades. For their business, they updated family recipes passed down for generations and make most of their own ingredients, even brown sugar.
They also spice up many of their confections with booze. Several of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic treats are made with candy bar pieces, and many resemble brownies because they are so thick.
Family members contribute to the process by helping with marketing videos and photographs.
Both women have full-time jobs and use their spare time to take orders and bake. They lease an industrial kitchen. Jennifer is an accountant at a construction management company and Wendy is a server at Tom Colichio's Heritage Steak at the Mirage.
Treats range in price from $12 to $48 a dozen and include options such as Cupid’s Kiss, Buzz Kill and Oreo Kitchen Sink. Special orders are delivered within 48 hours, and the company receives 10 to 15 calls a day, Jennifer said.
The Baumgartners don’t want to go into debt to fund their company, which is why they opted for the crowdfunding approach. They are eyeing a storefront on McLeod Drive near Sunset Road.
But other local alcohol-infused food businesses haven't fared so well.
Pick Your Poison Bake Shop, for example, which combined cupcakes and cocktails, moved from Las Vegas to Austin, Texas, after only a few years in business. The company also operated a website and hoped to one day branch out into a storefront.