THE COOK'S STORY
Grandma (Elaine) Cook cherished the smiles on the faces of her children when she made beautifully decorated birthday cakes. She believed that everyone, and certainly her children, "deserved a nicely decorated Birthday Cake". Based on this conviction, she decided to take classes to learn the art of cake decoration. This opened the door to a lifelong passion and a thriving business endeavor that has grown into a retail business and a wholesale distribution business as well.
The main retail location is Cook's Cake Decorating and Candy Making Supplies, located in West Allis, WI . Cook Specialty, the wholesale distribution part of the business, has its offices and warehouse in West Allis, WI also. The Online store, "virtual location", has made Cook;s supplies and helpful recipes and expertise available nationally and internationally to hobbyists and cake and candy artists.
Although Grandma C's Grandson James, and his wife Theresa, have bought the business, Grandma C is still involved. She is always available to answer their questions and provides them with great ideas as she has so much knowledge that she loves to share.
During the Christmas season of 2006, Grandmas C provided a TV demonstration on how to make her famous "Edible Christmas Potpourri" mix, which is unique and delicious snack. Since her secret recipe is now out you can find it in our recipe collection. The key flavorful ingredients are available in our online store.
This following timeline tells the story of Cook's Cake Decorating and Candy Supplies business growth...
- August 1970: Opening of 1st Retail Store-200 Sq. Ft. of retail space in Hales Corners, WI. Hardly enough money at first to pay the $125 rent.
- May 1972: Sales are Growing and the Decorating Business is becoming a true hobby and Art! Cook's moves to a new location on Greenfield Avenue in West Allis.
- June 1976: The Wholesale bakery market looks for suppliers. Cook Specialty is launched and meets with a success.
- October 1980: Cook's needs a new facility and moves to a larger 2000 Sq. Ft facility, which is now the location of the current retail store.
- December 2002: Grandma C, Elaine, and husband Henry are ready to be semi – retired (a lot of work, classes, conventions and supply sales have happened) and Brad and daughter JoAnne buy the business.
- Summer, 2003: The "Cook's Cake and Candy" website and the eCommerce online store is launched; Cook's opens their online business.
- April 2003: The business growth leads to the acquisition of new offices and a large Distribution center for the Cook Specialty wholesale part of the business……..and enough room for office space for Brad, Joanne and "Grandma C".
- August 15, 2005: Celebration of Cook's 35th Anniversary of supplying thousands of cake decorators and candy makers! Could success be more Sweet?
- June 2012: Grandson James and wife Theresa have bought the business. James retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2010 after serving over 22 years and is looking forward to a second career of owning and operating the family business. Grandma C, Grandpa Henry, Aunt Joanne & Uncle Brad have retired to Mississippi.
Over the years, as her business grew, Grandma C developed her own set of guidelines for business success. Her guidelines, although probably not what you would find on the lists of stock-driven Fortune 500 companies, have endured and are still the guiding principals for Cook's businesses.
- Be frugal in how you operate your business, but always be sure to deliver value to your customers. Reuse, Recycle, Reduce!
- Control inventory and keep supplies fresh and new.
- Offer what the customer wants and deliver it promptly.
- Treat customers the way you want to be treated, but don’t accept nonsense.
- Employees are important to your business and to you. Treat them right and value them like family.
- Expect good times and bad times and have a plan to endure. Expect growth every year based on the industry and the economy.
- Maintain an honest reputation and never lie.
- Support your industry and contribute.
Grandma C’s Dream???? To see Cook's retail stores franchised around the country!