Business

Follow-up File: Being Brown Butter Cookie Co. is quite a treat

Traci Nickson, left, and Christa Hozie run the sweet operations at Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos.
Traci Nickson, left, and Christa Hozie run the sweet operations at Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos. The Tribune

Name: Christa Hozie

Job: Co-owner

Business: Brown Butter Cookie Co.

What she said then: In February 2011, The Tribune’s Follow-Up File checked in on the Brown Butter Cookie Co. in Cayucos.

Owned by sisters Christa Hozie and Traci Nickson, the store has been churning out cookies full time since 2009. With national exposure in magazines and newspapers growing, the shop was bursting at its seams with 15 employees.

“There’s always challenges, especially when you’re growing quickly in a small space,” Hozie said. “Those little challenges just take you to the next step.”

Committed to remaining on Ocean Avenue, the sisters saw limited opportunities for expansion. They hoped to move to larger quarters within a few years.

What she says now: A Westways Magazine feature on the Brown Butter Cookie Co. and Cayucos doubled the cookie shop’s business “overnight” last summer. The publication is produced by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Now, the growing store is settling into its new home at 98 N. Ocean Ave., while Hozie and Nickson prepare to debut their first seasonal flavor on the QVC home shopping television channel.

“We’ll be going on the air, probably in November,” Hozie said. “We like to do everything ourselves.”

Both the original Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookie and a new, holiday-only spice version will be sold through the shopping network.

Expansion of the store’s product line continues with the recent addition of a coconut-lime cookie and two types of biscotti.

One advantage of its new location, Hozie added, is retaining the atmosphere and smell of baking cookies.

“My sister and I can stay together. We don’t have to split up production and selling,” she said. “We like to make cookies in front of customers.”

With more than 30 fulland part-time workers, including summer-only employees, the owners considered moving the baking into a second space.

And when the current location went up for sale, Tovya and Harry McKellop — the sisters’ aunt and uncle of Los Angeles — agreed to buy the two-story building and lease it to them.

Renovations began in April. The shop moved mid-June into the downstairs area.

With nearly three times the square footage it occupied a few blocks away, the shop is also closer to the village’s commercial center. That means more foot traffic.

That’s important for the store, which still sells about 80 percent of its cookies on site.

“A lot of our customers think most of our business is shipping,” Hozie said. “Most of them are being sold right here in Cayucos.”

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