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Fordham students to launch a fully baked business

Areas of Study , Entrepreneurship , Entrepreneurship Society , Marketing , Stories Student Organizations & Clubs | Sep 27, 2011 |

Most college students don’t keep five-pound sacks of Nestle chocolate chips in their apartment kitchens. Or bags of brown sugar the size of a standard bed pillow. Or trays of eggs that could keep a short-order cook stocked through the morning rush.

Stephen Shami and German Chabur do. These are the raw materials for their soon-to-launch business, Twice Baked Cookies — a to-your-door cookie delivery service that will cater especially to the Rose Hill campus.

The business aims to fill a niche in the Fordham area: a niche that is more or less round, crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle. Stephen, a Gabelli junior, and German, his high school friend who has studied psychology at Fordham but is pondering a switch to marketing, have big dreams of filling Fordham students’ needs in the chocolate-chip, sugar and oatmeal raisin domains.

Baking — and consuming the tasty results — are long-term passions for both Stephen and German. “I’ve always really loved cookies, and would eat one of those boxes of Pepperidge Farm cookies for breakfast,” Stephen recalled.

Which makes it unsurprising that he and German decided to center their business around one of America’s favorite sweets. Like good business students, they did market research first, confirming through an e-mailed survey to the Class of 2014 last year that students would indeed buy delivered, freshly baked cookies. They also did some research on which flavor combinations would get students to open their wallets.

We should all be so lucky as to have to product-test months’ worth of cookies. Stephen and German courageously accepted this punishing task, starting with family recipes and formulas from the Internet and tweaking them into proprietary creations, batch by delicious batch. They started by mastering the classics, developing an introductory product line — chocolate chip, M&M cookies, sugar, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin — but also started experimenting with tastes that will set them apart, such as two cookies inspired by flavors more typically found in cakes: red velvet and carrot cake.

Twice Baked Cookies will distinguish itself based on the quality of its product, Stephen and German said, but also on its level of customer service. “It won’t be only a buyer/seller relationship,” Stephen explained. “It would be cool if when we go on deliveries, we know the name of every person we’re delivering to. It’s not about having a cookie. It’s about the interaction.”

Stephen and German will find out, as they launch their service, whether their model will be a huge score among Fordham undergraduates. No matter what the early obstacles, however, they are committed to making it work.

“We’re working small now, but we have big plans,” Stephen said. “We’re not going to accept that we can’t do this. We’re just going to find a way to do it.”

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