Local Entrepreneur Bakes Up A Success

Local Entrepreneur Bakes Up A Success

By Susana Martinez

Last part of the process, Chris Weekes adds the right colors for the final product. Photo courtesy of Robert Weekes

Residents of Holtville are raving over local cookie sensation Cookies By Chris. This cookie business is run by Holtville resident Chris Weekes and although she’s managing all the baking on her own, the overwhelming stream of customers does not prove to be daunting for the talented baker. Having orders extending far into December of this year, Cookies By Chris is finding no shortage of business in this small town.

Weekes’ cookie career began when a co-worker of hers saw ladybug cookies on the internet that she wanted for her daughter’s first birthday. Weekes was certain that she could make them far cheaper and during that process she found that she enjoyed baking for others. Since then Weekes has researched and tested different recipes in order to perfect the cookies the Holtville community has come to love.

The cookie making process Weekes follows is an extensive, and often times, challenging one. The whole affair takes her about a week, depending on the bulk of the order. Her schedule is centered around the prepping of cookie dough, the baking, decorating, and packaging, tasks that she does largely by herself. But, whenever help is needed, she can always count on the assistance of her daughter, Megan Martin and Martin’s boyfriend Sam Beltran, to make the process smooth going. Martin is in charge of all Cookies By Chris social media while Beltran helps Weekes with any equipment problems she may face.

Even though the business is small, Cookies By Chris has no shortage of customers. Before becoming fully dedicated to her business, Weekes was working a full time job and devoted her weekends to baking, something that left her little time to keep up with the growing orders. Full dedication has helped lessen the strain of constant orders. Weekes is constantly booked by regular customers and often times she has to turn orders away from her busy schedule. On average she bakes 12 dozen cookies a week and during the holidays the number grows. This last Christmas she baked about 800 cookies. Her cookie repertoire includes farmers markets, birthdays, and weddings.

Cookies By Chris is run directly from Weekes’ kitchen, something that she prefers over a store front. Cottage Food Law allows Weekes to sell her goods directly from home with the appropriate licensing and health credentials. The law also has an income limit, another factor that has her turning away customers. However, she is not looking into opening a storefront anytime soon. Doing so would require Weekes to raise her prices, something she is unwilling to do to her customers. Currently, a basic dozen runs for $30, and while that may seem pricey, it takes into account all the time, supplies, effort, and creativity Weekes has put into every cookie.

The most challenging part of the job for Weekes is getting a cookie to look exactly like what her customers want. But when she does, the challenge gives way to satisfaction. The most rewarding part about her baking sales is when her cookies are met with a positive reaction. A picture of a customer eating one of her cookies brings her no end of joy, as well as the phrase she has often been told: “They’re too pretty to eat.” In the small town of Holtville, Cookies By Chris is flourishing.

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