South Charlotte

New online cookie business going sweetly for Indian Trail pair

Over a breakfast at the International House of Pancakes, Wes Richter and his mother Donna decided to go into business.

Donna Richter has long been renowned for her baking skills, and Wes had recently graduated from Appalachian State University, where he studied management and entrepreneurship. He knew his calling wasn't a desk.

"We came up with the idea at IHOP to sell and market cookies online," Wes said.

The Richters, who live in Indian Trail, decided not to open a bakery or retail store. Instead, they would take their products directly online.

The Cookie Jar opened in early 2011.

Donna, who also works in the cafeteria at Indian Trail Elementary School, does all of the baking. The most popular cookies are standards such as oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip, but The Cookie Jar offers seven other varieties including Cowboy Cookies and Creme De Menthe.

"My mom had always been the family baker," said Wes, who is a 2006 graduate of Sun Valley High School. "Everyone loves Donna's cookies."

Some recipes are from the Richter family, including a Pride of Iowa cookie recipe that came from Wes' grandmother.

The Richters decided that cookie tins were overdone, so they decided to sell their cookie gift packages in handmade cookie jars.

They have teamed up with two potters in Seagrove, the town in Randolph County known for its many pottery studios. The potters, Kit Vanderwal from Lantern Hill Pottery and Cale Williams from Triple C Pottery, make two sizes of cookie jars; each jar is unique.

"People really like that (the jars) are truly one of a kind," Wes said.

The jars come filled with cookies, which the Richters seal in a cellophane bag. The cookies can be frozen, and have a shelf life of about two weeks. Donna does not use preservatives in her baking.

The Richters don't plan to open a storefront within the next few years, but they are expanding their kitchen into their garage. They have begun displaying their cookies at local vendors and will be featured at this year's Southern Christmas Show.

To order cookies or get more information about The Cookie Jar, visit www.cookieshomemade.com or call 209-379-5801.

New In Wesley Chapel

Todd Hess, a Wesley Chapel town council member, has opened a PostNet franchise in Wesley Chapel.

PostNet provides design, print, copy and shipping services and caters to small business owners and people who work from home. The business center is an authorized shipping outlet for FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

The new store is at 5922 Weddington Monroe Road, Suite A5 in Wesley Chapel. For more information, visit www.PostNet.com.

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