Baker#039;s dream cooks into tasty reality

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

One person's loss is often another's gain, and that's deliciously true in the case of Tami Mays.

When she suffered a severe back injury and lost her ability for heavy lifting, Lawrence County gained a new haven for sweet teeth of all sizes.

South Point resident Tami Mays had toiled in retail for 13 years yet always kept the dream of having her own cookie shop alive in her heart.

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She routinely would bring baked goods to work, and was encouraged by co-workers to offer her product to the public.

The dream was one that was shared by her mother, and when she passed away nearly four years ago, it inspired Mays to begin to seriously consider a career change.

In was not until 2004 however, that Mays was finally motivated to make the switch.

Due to a back injury, she was advised by her doctor to not lift more than 10 or 15 pounds. That stipulation put an end to her retail career, and while bedridden, her longtime dream began to seem more and more viable.

"I've always done crafts, I've sowed, but it's always been in the back of my mind that I'd really like to do it," Mays said. "It was something that my mother wanted me to do, so when I did it hurt my back, I knew it was something that she would want me to do."

Adopting a small building on County Road 1 in South Point, and a name created by her sister, The Cookie Cutter was opened in October 2004.

Some country flavor

Though opening a bakery was her first love, she began to have fears that sweet treats would not be enough to carry the shop.

Her plan was adapted to include stationary and gifts.

One of her biggest sellers has become her selection of candles, but Mays won't allow just any lump of wax on her shelves.

"When I do my candles, I like to do things that will go on the bakery line, fruity-type things, some are actually in sundae cups," Mays said.

"I try to keep the same kind of thing, I don't want to go too far off. I do like more of the country stuff."

Continuing that country theme of which she is so fond, The Cookie Cutter stocks the rustic art of Pat Richter on stationary and recipe cards. Customers will also find the shop to be inhabited by a range of teddy bears and other creatures from The Boyds Collection.

Show me the goodies

Despite her range of country-themed gifts, Mays never forgot on which side her cookies were buttered. She knew she still had to bake a great selection of treats for her shop to stay afloat.

She regularly keeps on hand several tempting standards, including chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, but also some unconventional favorites like "thumbprint cookies" filled with strawberry preserves, and holiday offerings such as shamrocks coated in green sugar.

Her store has also become known for a line of pretzel rods delectably drenched in caramel, chocolate, nuts and icing. She occasionally gives the same sweet treatment to apples, which her customers have dubbed "Turtle Apples."

Though many would be tempted to spend their days ingesting just as many treats as they sell, Mays said that her sweet tooth, which was once quite formidable, has decayed to almost nothing since she started having to make hundreds of the goodies herself in her South Point home.

Counting her blessings

Surprisingly to Mays, the bulk of her business has not been walk-in customers, but in the cookies, pies and cupcakes which customers special order in an attempt to make any event a little sweeter.

Mays' four months of business have been quite successful, she said, but she seems reluctant to take much of the credit.

"I've had a lot of support from family and friends, and in the short time I've been in business, I've really been blessed," Mays said. "I've got to add that, because in a short length of time, I've really done great. I've been really blessed."

If you've got a hankering for a turtle apple, or just some companionship from a Boyds Bear, you can visit The Cookie Cutter at 2362 County Road 1 Tuesday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.