Hello to 2024, Friends!
I hope finds you well and happy. 2024 is off to a chilly start here in Southeastern Virginia, so I’m taking time indoors on this cold day to fill you in on the highs and lows of 2023.
December 2023 brought with it a few new adventures for us. The City of Newport News hosted several Holiday events and we were asked to provide a cookie-decorating activity at two of them. For someone who runs an internet-based business, it was a treat to get out, interact with families, and see people enjoying our products first-hand. Keep your eyes peeled as I think we may be showing up again at events for Newport News (which are always open to all).
We had a big, fun change in the Cookie Kitchen in December. A regular customer reached out and asked if I’d like a mural in the Cookie kitchen. Now instead of all beige walls I’m greeted each day with a sunshine-y mural that includes our little red bird and a text bubble I can write on! I’m not sure if the best part is the mural or that in the process a customer became a friend. Please follow Courtney on instagram @Balingart and keep her in mind when you need some amazing colorful art on your walls (or your workplace’s walls)!
In the late Fall of 2023 I made the scary decision to change who was hosting and maintaining CookieText.com. The former company, while skilled, didn’t seem at all invested in what we do here nor did they seem to grasp the challenges of small business ownership.
The good news is that our current company is wonderful. Part of that wonderful-ness is that they care. They want to see us succeed, they want to make your experience on the website easy and seamless, and they seem to grasp that we don’t have the budget of a Fortune. 500 company;). There have been a few hiccups with the transition, but I’ll take hiccups over indifference again and again.
Speaking of the aforementioned balloons, we stopped offering them this summer. While I loved them as an add-on to a delivery, between the rental of the helium tank, the cost of helium, and some environmental factors, it was time to let them go. My apologies to those who loved that add-on. If anyone needs a bunch of un-inflated mylar balloons for various occasions, I’m the gal to ask!
2023 was a year of scaling back. The economy has not been a friend to small businesses, and it found me reverting back to doing as much as I possibly can to run the show instead of utilizing employees as much as we have in the past. For the first time I have real fears about the feasibility of keeping this going in a manner that will support my household. I am very proud of Cookie Text and all we do and have done, and I’d love to keep doing it. I think we call this stage ‘watchful waiting’…time will tell.
We have begun preparing for Valentine’s Day and lots of great choices are up on the website! I encourage you to check them out and order early. Valentine’s has always brought us to maximum capacity and I anticipate the same this year.
Personally, things are good: my boys are well and happy, the oldest moved to Richmond this Fall with a good friend and is studying for the LSAT, he is loving his new place. The middle son is set to graduate from Virginia Tech this May, and will begin his career with Smithfield Foods this summer. My youngest son has some crazy ability to excel at both his engineering courses and having a good ol’ time as a Hokie. The younger two play Club soccer for VT, so mama is very happy to know they see each other a few times a week and would be able to sound an alarm to me if needed. I traveled in November to Texas to see them compete in Nationals. Not many parents get to see two of their kids compete on the same team at such a high level. It was a cool trip and I am grateful.
Lastly, we are up for a “Best Bakery” award from Coastal Virginia Magazine. If you have a minute or two to cast your vote our direction we’d appreciate it. You can do that here. Primarily the win helps potential customers believe that ours is a product and service they can trust. We’d love to turn potentials into actuals, so thanks for your help!
Cheers to you and yours in ’24.
May it be our best year yet!