UPDATED — Even during the Good Life Co.’s humble beginnings – when Greg Cole was selling his Little Bits cookies at farmers markets – he knew he’d go national one day. He never thought it would be three years after starting his business, though.
“We’re actually two years ahead of our projected plan,” Cole says.
“We go national next month,” he says. “I never thought that we would get a national contract so soon.”
Cole’s specialty is seven-spice gourmet cookie. After farmers markets, he began selling to local stores, such as Green Acres Market, Spice Merchant & Co. and the local health store Whole Foods Association.
“They weren’t expecting the cookie to do so well,” he says.
Then the Kansas City Fresh Market began selling the cookies.
Now, the chain is going to begin putting Little Bits in its other stores as well.
“It’s going to be a five-year project,” Cole says. “You can’t roll out to every store all at once. … That’s an ongoing process.”
Rob Robinson, general manager of the Wichita Fresh Market, says the cookies didn’t sell well at first, but then people got to know them.
“We do very well with them,” he says. “They are a very popular local cookie.”
Now, when he runs out, Robinson says people ask, “When are you getting them back in?” He says there’s a loyalty there.
“They’re starting that demand.”
Cole says things are still relatively humble given that he works out of the basement of a church and has no employees.
“I don’t want to give people the impression, ‘Oh, he done struck rich,’” Cole says. “Everybody thinks that anyway.”
He says he will have to hire about 20 employees in the next year or so along with acquiring a new facility to work out of.
“There’s so many vacant spots,” Cole says.
He says he wants to take his time and make sure he picks the right place in case he decides to do a storefront there as well.
“That is the goal, no doubt about it.”
Cole has five other recipes he’s eventually going to market. His newest cookie — Coca Mocha Bites — comes out next month. He says it’s a gourmet coffee cookie.
“That’s going to outdo (the spice) cookie by a long shot,” he says.
The spice cookies are miniature cookies that come 19 cookies in a serving and have only 50 fat calories.
“That’s why they’re called Little Bits,” Cole says.
They’ve been especially popular with diabetics across the country. Not that Cole set out to create a healthy cookie.
“Not on your life. I wanted to have a great tasting cookie.”
Even though the transition to more Fresh Market stores is going to take a while, Cole already is looking to other national chains to carry his cookies, such as the Whole Foods Market that’s going to open at the Waterfront later this year.
“We’ll be going after that big chain in just a moment.”