Vanilla, maple and pumpkin spice flavors mark the start of the autumnal spirit. Frosting and intricate designs make eating sweet treats all the more delectable. Enjoy this fall with seasonal themed treats just for the thrill of the festivity. O’Cookies and Creations is a small, local family-owned business in Virginia Beach that specializes in sugar cookies with royal icing. The O’Connors’ recipe has been in the family for 30 years and launched their business in Oct. 2020. They have been busy rolling out cookies and mixing icing colors ever since.
The family recipe was passed down from Pamela O’Connor to her daughter, Sarah Grady, the social media design coordinator and contact manager of the business, and then to her two granddaughters. Hope O’Connor helps with packaging and frosting cookies and Lydia O’Connor, a class of 2018 VWU alumna, is the cookie decorator, photographer and invoice messenger of O’Cookies and Creations.
Pamela O’Connor, the owner and founder of the recipe, shared about the fruition of her cookies becoming the heart of the family-owned business and her favorite part of owning O’Cookies and Creations. “Over 30 years ago, I was making these cookies while I was in the Air Force for friends and family during holidays, Christmas and all of those fun times. Eventually, a year ago, after we had made them for our church’s anniversary, we said ‘well maybe we should start selling them for good,’” Pamela O’Connor said. “Seeing the customer, and being part of their life’s celebration. When you see their faces light up when they get their cookies, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Dr. Terry Lindvall, VWU C.S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Communication and Christian Thought Professor of Communication, ordered cookies for his WES 300 Communication and Laughter class and shared what he likes about the local family-owned business.
“It is in our neighborhood, and anytime we can support people in our neighborhood shows that we are becoming more of a community,” Lindvall said. “And what often is lost in a city is a sense of community, and so these cookies are communal cookies.”
Grady shared details about the continuous growth that O’Cookies and Creations are working on to improve their family-owned business. “There were so many things that we had to figure out. We are still learning how to streamline frosting, baking, production and our customer service. Just trying to continuously improve, so that’s definitely been challenging. But it is rewarding because we see the fruits of all that labor,” Grady said.
O’Cookies and Creations create seasonal packages throughout the year that are available for pre-order and also accept custom orders. Custom orders require a two week notice and cost $30 plus tax for a dozen while seasonal packages are $25 plus tax for a dozen. They also have a vending stand to purchase cookies and more sweets at the Farmer John’s Market at Back Bay’s Farmhouse Brewery Co. on 1805 Kempsville Rd in Virginia Beach. Customers can support their vending stand at the next Farmer John’s Market vendor on Dec. 19 to purchase holiday themed cookies. Small cookies are for $3 each and large cookies are $4 each at the farmers market.
Lindvall added why the Wesleyan community should support and order from O’Cookies and Creations. “It’s a great deal first of all. Secondly, it spreads joy; the joy of eating with other people. And third, because it is a local business and friends of Virginia Wesleyan run it.”
Despite COVID-19 impacting local businesses and start-up establishments in Hampton Roads, O’Cookies and Creations benefitted as an at-home business to make cookies for sale. The O’Connors packaged their cookies to help customers celebrate events while still being comfortable compared to the experience of sharing cake or blowing out candles. They hope to expand their business by streamlining their production, making more collections of cookies that more customers will enjoy throughout the year and attending more farmer markets in the future.
Lydia O’Connor shares her favorite part of working at her family-owned business. “I think seeing each other’s strengths and watching each other grow and pushing each other to succeed has been really rewarding,” Lydia O’Connor said. “Also, as a family, to see something in each other that we haven’t seen before through doing a business together and strengthening our relationships as well.”
These cookies make great gifts and snacks for holidays, special occasions and events. Their most popular occasions for cookie orders are Christmas first and graduation second. Visit their website www.ocookiesandcreations.com or their social media platforms @o.cookies.and.creations on Instagram and www.facebook.com/o.cookies.and.creations. You’re just an email away from placing your order to firstname.lastname@example.org to get a delicious batch of their cookies.
“There’s something about giving a cookie to somebody that makes them smile. A cookie is kind of a symbol of friendship, especially if the cookie is laughing back at you,” said Lindvall. Enjoy a treat that you can savor in any shape or time of the year.
By Tiffany Warren