Friday, July 15, 2011

Kai's Kookies & More opens on South Boulevard

Cookie junkies have another spot to get a fix on South Boulevard, as a family-owned cookie shop is planning for its grand opening on Saturday.

Kai's Kookies & More is the brainchild of Tracy and Patrick Watkins. The business has been around since 2002, subleasing space from a bakery in Huntersville.

Tracy started the business in 2002, after her daughter Kai was born with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. She left her job as an electrical engineer to spend more time with the baby.

"It started out so I'd have something where I could take care of my daughter without working a 9 to 5 job," she said. She started a website, got some retail orders and went from there. Tracy started selling her hand-iced cookies to businesses such as Dean & Deluca, Healthy Home Market and parties at the Harris YMCA.

And maybe that's how things would have stayed, if her husband Patrick hadn't been laid off from his job as a civil engineer in February. The baking couple (Patrick makes eight varieties of cheesecake he'd sold to local restaurants) decided now was the chance to go big.

"Instead of subleasing from the bakery in Harrisburg we'd been working out of, we said let's just do our own space," Tracy said. They scouted out retail locations, and settled on 1,200-square-feet in a shopping center at 3905 South Boulevard, near Scaleybark Road. With the help of family members and their savings, they started to get the business in shape.

"The upfit was a lot of late nights, working 24-hours, with the help of a friend," Tracy said. "It was a lot of sweat equity. We are working on a budget."

The store's grand opening will be Saturday, July 16. A decorating contest, free coffee, cookies, massages and live jazz are planned. "I'm excited, and a little scared," Tracy said.

Patrick is working on new creations, such as tiramisu and carrot cake, to expand their repertoire. Tracy hopes that kid-centered birthday parties, with cookie and cupcake-making parties, will help draw customers. And she's looking forward to eating more of her favorite dessert - her husband's mango cheesecake.


Anonymous said...

A great couple has opened this business & deserve your support. BTW, theyhave free wi-fi, too.