Business owners generally aren’t eager to discuss bankruptcies, but Connie Hamilton of Connie’s Cookies says it’s probably important to talk about hers.
“It’s good for people to know that’s the old bakery,” she says of the bankruptcy. “That’s the reason that I had to close the old bakery.”
Hamilton was in business for 24 years before closing her store in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon in 2013.
About a month later, her son, Rob Smith, and his wife, Tanya, formed a new corporation and opened Connie’s Cookies Bakery & Cafe on the east side at Reed’s Cove Plaza on East 21st Street just east of 127th Street.
“There was a short period of time there where we really weren’t sure it was opening back up,” Hamilton says.
She says she ran into financial trouble with “that stupid international thing” where she worked with an out-of-state businessman to market her products overseas. That led to problems with her main business.
“I just got myself in a hole, and once I got in a hole, I couldn’t get out,” Hamilton says. “I had to just keep scrounging and scrounging to keep everything going.”
She says she was behind on rent and couldn’t renew her lease at Sweetbriar. Hamilton filed for bankruptcy, and “it’s taken this long for it all to … go through.”
Since she closed, Hamilton has had two knee replacements and had to put her husband in a care facility.
“It’s not been a good two years.”
However, the new business is doing great, she says, and it made sense to move to Reed’s Cove.
“It’s a whole new concept out here, too,” Hamilton says.
Her business used to be through orders only, then she added some items in a small retail area, but pastries such as cupcakes weren’t big sellers.
“But oh, my gosh… it’s like a walk-in bakery out here,” Hamilton says. “We’re out here amongst tons and tons of young families, so it’s just perfect.”
She says the store has brownies, macaroons and “now we go through tons of cupcakes.”
There are also tables for customers to sit and eat, and there’s a drive-through window.
In addition, Hamilton now is the main cake baker.
“That’s been kind of fun for me,” she says. “I’m not in charge anymore. … I did it enough years.”
Now, Hamilton says, “I’m just a peon.”
She says that’s fine with her.
“Oh, I love it.”