|Too Good’s Cookies on Sale Right Out of the Oven in SLz||| Print ||
|Thursday, 08 December 2011 15:31|
By Linda Sandsmark
San Leandro Times
Looking for holiday gifts that are economical but look gorgeous? Check out Too Good Gourmet’s factory retail outlet on Grant Avenue in San Lorenzo. With many of these beautifully packaged cookies and gift items costing between $1 and $6, they are sure to make a hit with shoppers on a budget.
One striking feature of Too Good Gourmet’s products is its packaging — the 3-D kind that can be used again for gift wrapping or as a decoration. The cookies are baked and packaged on-site at the company’s large facility.
“Every year during the holidays, we open our doors to the public for this special sale,” says company president Jennifer Finley. “We have a tremendous selection. We’re mostly a wholesaler, and find it’s great to be able to sell our excess production at wholesale prices directly to the consumer. It’s really synergistic, good for the customers and good for us.”
Popular holiday favorites include Red Velvet Cookies with cream cheese icing, Cinnamon Spice Cocoa mix in ornament-shaped boxes, Holiday Ginger Snaps in Gingerbread Man-shaped boxes, and Chocolate Decadence Cookies with a felt Santa costume on the box. There are hundreds of beautifully packaged products to choose from.
Finley started Too Good Gourmet in 1998 with her mother, Aimee Watson, who recently retired. She had previously worked for Gymboree and was in management at Peet’s Coffee.
“I always wanted to start my own food specialty business,” says Finley.
“When my mom and I first started out, our idea was to go one better than the animal cracker boxes sold in grocery stores. ”
Other cookie companies typically start with a recipe, then design packaging around it. Too Good Gourmet created its cookies to fit the packaging, which is designed by an art director. Though they originally thought they were marketing to children, Finley and Watson were surprised to find out that their typical customer was a woman over 35 who bought the cookies as a gift.
The company started out small, working from Watson’s home in Santa Cruz. They moved to San Lorenzo in 2004 to be closer to Finley’s home in the East Bay.
“I just really love it here. It’s a great place to have a business,” she says.
“It’s a fun business, although it’s much harder to be a food manufacturer than I thought it would be, especially in this economy. But we can persevere, because we have a very low price for what we’re offering. It keeps us attractive in the marketplace.”
The company’s bakery is now large enough to ramp up or scale down its personnel as needed. Seasonal staffing increases the employee head count from 50 to 130 for the holiday rush.
Too Good Gourmet’s retail outlet will be open seven days a week through Dec. 24. Extended holiday hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Visit the store in person at 2380 Grant Ave. in San Lorenzo, phone 317-8150, or visit www.toogoodgourmet.com for more information.
The company bakes cookies and other goodies for all seasons, with Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day 2012 just around the corner. During the rest of the year, the factory outlet store will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
CAPTION: Too Good Gourmet president Jennifer Finley offers designer-boxed cookies at wholesale prices every day through Christmas.
PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK