Susan Adair has gained national attention because of her amazing cookies. She started a home-based business as a teenager, using a secret family recipe from her best friend, and is now running a successful cookie store and even appearing on her own Food Network series Tough Cookies.
Choosing a business name was a family affair. After considering hundreds of names, one day at a family gathering someone asked, “Who made the cookies?” “Susan!” family members replied. “Crazy Susan?” cousin Peter asked. This is how Crazy Susan’s Cookie Company was born.
Susan’s decision to open an actual storefront in Ocean City, New Jersey came in 2006 after losing her cousin Joy to cancer at age 42. Susan says, “It made me put life into perspective about what I was doing and what I wanted to do. I wanted a business doing what I loved, where family members could work if they needed a part-time job, and where we could spend lots of time together. The business throws the family together. We love it!” Susan’s sister Linda runs the business side, while Susan does the baking and talking with customers – her two favorite things to do.
All the cookies are made from scratch, and each recipe is refined until it reaches near perfection. The Crazy Turtle is their most popular cookie, a chocolate chip cookie with cashews, topped with caramel and chocolate. “The Mayor” is named after their local mayor in Ocean City, a fudge cookie with Rolos and Peanut Butter Cups.
Last year they were contacted by a Manhattan production company wanting to do a show on their bakery for six episodes. The Food Network picked up the show, appropriately named “Tough Cookies” for these no-nonsense Jersey girls. It’s helped their business tremendously, because even with 15 to 20 family members working at one time, they can hardly keep up with long lines out the door and phones that never stop ringing.
In addition to the Food Network, Crazy Susan’s Cookies have appeared on the Rachel Ray Show. One day they had Crazy Turtles left over, so they packaged them and sent to the show with a letter requesting to be the “Snack of the Day”. The show called a week later letting them know they had been selected. Gourmet food businesses might follow their lead to gain national attention.
Crazy Susan’s Cookies has used Nashville Wraps’ products for all their packaging from the very beginning. They love the quality and the “pop” of the colors. “Everything always looks so professional and the pricing is excellent,” Susan commented. They use our red gift boxes and red and white polka dot ribbon to create their signature look.
Online ordering is a significant part of their business now that they have received national exposure. They find that individually wrapping/sealing the preservative-free cookies and keeping them cool with ice packs helps ensure that they arrive fresh to the customer.
Their business has always been a “word of mouth” success. Sometimes new customers will come in and are given a new cookie to taste test. Party trays have become a perfect way to get the word out and reach new customers, as has their popular Facebook page.
If you’re thinking about starting or expanding your business, Susan encourages you to move slowly and carefully. Don’t go out and rent a $5000/month bakery or buy an expensive piece of equipment just because you sold some cookies. “There’s something good about ‘small’ business,” she explains.
“If you’re in the cookie business, build it one cookie lover at a time, and get to know your cookie lovers. Every customer is as important as the next, whether they buy one cookie or hundreds. It’s a people business.”
More than the cookies and the income, what Susan loves most about her business are her customers. She especially loves the kids, and boy, do kids love her! We think this crazy, tough cookie is actually pretty smart and very sweet.
Internet Advertising Manager
Thankfully, Susan’s business was not affected by Hurricane Irene.