On an unusually warm Thursday in May, we packed up and headed over to Dartmouth to get a first-hand look at a long-time customer favorite at Lees… Black Tie Cookies! Our history with Black Tie Cookies goes back to the 90s, and we’ve been fortunate to watch them evolve and grow for over twenty years. Throughout numerous location changes and other challenges, they’ve consistently produced some of the best cookies around, so we couldn’t wait to check out their latest spot!
After about a 20 minute drive, we pulled up to a cozy little plaza on Russells Mills Road. Upon walking in, it was like visiting family for Debbie, our Specialty Foods Manager, as she exchanged greetings with Nicole, the owner. Nicole is, simply put, a riot. She immediately made us feel at home with her humor and wit. She exclaimed “I made everyone stop working to clean everything up. It’s like when company comes over your house. DON’T MAKE A MESS!”. After a good laugh, I mentioned “are you baking anything right now?”. Nicole quickly replied “I didn’t want to have cookies in the oven while talking to you guys because I was afraid I’d burn them. When I burn cookies, I get cranky and I’d have to make you eat the whole tray”. At this point, our faces were already hurting from laughter, but this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Nicole was surrounded by her equally spunky mother, Maria, and two part-time workers, Olivia and Kate, who are students at UMASS Dartmouth. The whole dynamic between them was like this super funny family. “They make me crazy” Nicole says with a laugh.
We then made our way to the baking area. To say it smelled wonderful would be a huge understatement. The air was perfumed with the sweet smell of baked treats. There were racks filled with some of the most delicious cookies we’ve ever seen. Oh, and did we mention the size? There are big cookies, and then there are Black Tie Cookies. Some of these approach a whopping quarter of a pound and are as big around as a CD. WRITER’S NOTE: Sorry if we’re dating ourselves with that comparison!
The amount of mouth-watering varieties they offer is a sight to behold. Everything from s’mores and M&M, to caramel apple, fruity pebbles, sugar cookies and more. Each one is bursting with all the good stuff. Nicole mentioned that in addition to selling to Lees, the do a lot of sales online, for events, corporate gifts and at their storefront.
We spoke a bit about Nicole’s history with Black Tie Cookies. She originally worked at the Mattapoisett Inn, where BTC was founded, while part of the co-op program for a local vocational high school. After working some other jobs, she circled back to Black Tie Cookies, eventually going on to purchase it. From there, she continued growing the business into what it is today.
One of our favorite things throughout this visit was the dynamic between Nicole and her mom, Maria, who also helps out at Black Tie Cookies. Their equally fun, sharp and downright hilarious personalities made this such a fun visit. A ball of energy in every sense, Maria mentioned that she often walks at least five miles a day, while stopping to offer treats to dogs along the way. Upon mentioning the dog treat bit, Nicole exclaimed “C’MON, MOM! WHY DO YOU FEED PEOPLE’S DOGS! THAT’S CREEPY”. At this point, the whole room was roaring with laughter. Joking aside, you could tell their bond ran deep and that Maria was an integral part of Black Tie Cookies.
It is moments like these that embody why we like to get out to showcase the faces behind our products. Of course we sell Black Tie Cookies at Lees, but what is more important to us is sharing the amazing people, personalities and stories behind these products. We are fortunate to partner with such wonderful companies and we hope you enjoy these journeys with us.
P.S. If you’re craving some Black Tie Cookies, Lees gets a big delivery on Friday mornings!
Until next time,
Matt, Shane & Debbie @ Lees Market & Clements’ Marketplace