College student raises dough with cookiesWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At just 13 years old, some kids don’t even know how to cook. Toledo native Johnathon Bush, however, was creating his own company.
Not Just Cookies was founded in 2006 when Bush began looking for a job. Not old enough to work at food establishments like McDonalds, Bush decided to start his own business.
“I sent 20 letters to family and friends to let them know I was starting a cookie business,” Bush said. “When I did that it just spread by word-of-mouth.”
Bush first learned to bake from his family. He made his first cookie around age 11, albeit an unsuccessful attempt at oatmeal raisin.
“I read the recipe and just added all the ingredients all at once and mixed it up,” Bush said. “You can’t do that. Oatmeal raisin is a three-step process with the sugar and the egg and the flour.
“I did learn how to follow the recipe exactly how it is supposed to be.”
He sure did.
Since that failed batch of cookies five years ago, the 18-year-old Bush has mastered his recipes and his cookies are now available at five different local stores. Among them are Walt Churchill’s Markets in Maumee and Perrysburg, Churchills in Toledo and Monnette’s Market locations in Toledo.
Bush’s turtle cookies won the Food Product Development Contest last year for the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), which helped him put his product on the market with benefits including nutritional testing, labeling and shelf life testing. He was also granted the use of the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen in Bowling Green to make his product. The award-winning cookie, however, was never one of Bush’s original recipes. A customer request resulted in experimentation and the production of his now headlining turtle cookie.
“A customer wanted a turtle cookie and they said a national chain, Spunkmeyer, had a cookie like that,” Bush said. “I created a turtle cookie and it has been the best-selling cookie.”
Bush also recently won the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics award, receiving top prize in a national competition among five finalists in Los Angeles. He presented his company’s business plan to a panel of judges, including an oral and PowerPoint presentation. For first place, Bush won $2,500 in scholarship money and a Dell laptop.
Bush is in his freshman year at the University of Toledo as a finance major.
“I hope to continue to grow the business while I am still in school,” Bush said. “I think that will help me do well with the business, just gaining more knowledge.”
In hopes of better selling his product, Bush has begun a cookie dough fundraiser which he hopes will catch on in Toledo area schools. Last year, Bush had two schools enroll and a few high school clubs. This year, he is hoping to get around 20 schools to participate in the program.
The fundraiser offers a prize program and eight different flavors of cookie dough, including chocolate chip, M&M, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, sugar, walnut chocolate chip and his award-winning turtle.
“It includes the turtle cookie, which there’s nothing really like that on the market right now as cookie dough,” Bush said. “It’s all natural with no preservatives and the schools can earn up to 50 percent profit. It is for a very good cause and is a good moneymaker for the schools.”
For more information on participating in the cookie dough fundraiser or wholesale orders, contact Bush by email at email@example.com or call (419) 787-1850. You can also visit his website at www.NotJustCookies.com or his website directly dealing with the cookie dough fundraiser at www.NJCCookieDough.com.