Ever wish you could buy homemade cookies instead of having to decide between quality and convenience? Well, now thanks to Gerry’s Cookies and California’s cottage food law, you can.
Gerry’s Cookies began in June of this year after Gerry Alberry and his wife, Meg, retired and moved to Grover Beach from the East Coast. According to their son, Ayden, Gerry has been baking cookies for more than 30 years, and it was Meg’s idea for them to start their own cookie business after retirement. When Ayden, who had been living in Oakland, moved in with them to get away from the expense of the Bay Area, everything fell into place.
“We were sitting around the table, and we were just kind of like, ‘Let’s do this,’” Ayden said.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF GERRY’S COOKIES
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Gerry’s Cookies operates out of the Alberrys’ kitchen. Cottage food law, which varies by state and has only been around for about three years, allows the sale of non-perishable food items from a private residence, so long as the business meets certain requirements and undergoes all the proper health inspections.
“It’s a good way for new businesses to get started without having to worry about getting a commercial facility right away,” Ayden said. “[Gerry’s Cookies] probably couldn’t have happened without it, so we’re pretty thankful.”
Despite being a new company, Gerry’s Cookies has already appeared at a variety of events, from weddings, to school fundraisers, to the Grover Beach Farmers’ Market. Their first event was SLO’s Pride in the Plaza, and their most successful so far has been the Morro Bay Avocado and Margarita Street Festival. In order to participate in the latter, they were required to include avocado in their ingredients, which was how their Double Chocolate Avocado cookie was created.
“You don’t really taste the avocado, but it’s kinda got a creamy texture,” Ayden said. “There were a lot of people at the festival who looked at it weird, but we were like, ‘Everyone else made that face before you, and they all liked it.’”
Besides selling at events and good ol’ word of mouth, so far Gerry’s Cookies hasn’t done much advertising. In fact, one of their few mentions in the press contained a typo, which is why they now have an inside joke of referring to their gluten-free cookies as “glutton-free.” They’ve been more focused on branding than marketing, part of which was the creation of their superhero-themed logo.
“We’ve always considered Dad kind of a superhero,” Ayden said. “He used to work for UPS up in the mountains, … and he battled cancer. He’s been cancer-free for six years now.”
Family is very important to the Alberrys, and they pride themselves on the fact that they are a small family business having fun doing something they love. Even Ayden’s younger brother, Ben, who is often busy with his job and volunteer work, helps Gerry’s Cookies mostly in the form of moral support.
“He’s our 6-foot, football-player-sized cheerleader,” Ayden said.
To see all of the flavors Gerry’s Cookies has available or to order your own, visit gerryscookies.com. Orders of more than $25 within the Five Cities get free delivery!
• Scarecrow Vampire Fangs and United Blood Services are teaming up for their annual blood drive on Oct. 20. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 4119 Broad St., suite 100, in SLO. Every donor will get a free pair of dental quality vampire fangs made by Scarecrow, and light refreshments will be provided.
• Senior Volunteer Services, a local nonprofit that connects seniors with volunteer positions in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties, is hosting a Sunday Afternoon Tea Party and Fashion Show to raise money for its community work. The event will take place on Nov. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Congregation Beth David in San Luis Obispo. Tickets are $35 each or $300 for a table of 10. For more info, visit seniorvolunteers.org.
New Times intern Katrina Borges wrote this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.