Shirley’s Cookie Company, Inc.
Patty Shaw grew up in a family that owned a donut shop and a family restaurant. The restaurants’ ‘Shirley’s raisin-filled cookie’ had such a following that Patty asked her father if she could start selling them to area retailers and he agreed.
With a newly designed Shirley’s Cookie box and magnetic signs adorning her station wagon, Patty took her cookies to a variety store in nearby Altoona, where she offered the owner some boxes for free hoping he would sell them and ask for more. Her grassroots strategy worked.
Her first year in business, Patty earned $35,000 in cookie sales. Working out of a trailer located next to the donut shop, Patty supplied her family’s cookies to stores within a 100-mile radius and personally met each customer. She set up an outlet area in the donut shop for cookies that had not sold within five days.
In 2000, the father-daughter duo then visited Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center for assistance with their business plan and financing options. In 2003, a SBA-guaranteed 504 loan enabled Shaw and her father to acquire and renovate a former wire manufacturing building and the adjoining land.
In 2007, the company received a second SBA loan to build a 10,000-square-foot expansion to their baking and distribution center. Today, Shirley’s Cookie Company has 140 employees and the company distributes the cookies to retailers throughout the country.