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Cris Kennedy's Recipe for Home Business Success

Westlake woman launches Cookies by Cris

Cris Kennedy is turning her grandmother's recipes into a 21st-century business.

The Westlake resident has started Cookies by Cris, a home-based business in which she makes and sells homemade cookies.

Kennedy, a former pediatric nurse, started the business a little over a year ago, mostly doing it for friends and posting photos of her creations on her personal Facebook page.

Since then, mostly by word of mouth, Kennedy has slowly been growing her business. She is now doing cookies for birthday parties held at Nicky Nicole.

The holidays have been busy for her. She has been making cookies for area PTAs and school-related parties. She also offers holiday cookie trays featuring a variety of cookies including sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, pizzelles and Russian tea cakes. Her most popular item is her decorated cutout sugar cookies, which sell for $2 apiece.

The sugar cookies are one of the cookies made with a recipe from her grandmother, Evelyn Pedrotty. The secret, she said, is sour cream.

"It makes a moister cookie," she said.

Kennedy has made so many, she knows by sight if the dough is rolled out to the right thickness, and by touch if it's the right consistency.

She has always been a baker, Kennedy said. An annual tradition is for her and her family is to make and decorate sugar cookies.

"What's great is, they can't do it wrong," she said. "It's all about what you like. My husband is huge into using sugar to decorate. Kids are more into icing."

Click here for tips from Kennedy on holiday cookie baking.

Knowing how to bake is one thing, she said. But knowing how to grow a business has been a learning experience.

The Internet is a tool she's learning how to use. She finds ideas and inspiration on Pinterest, and she uses her smartphone to take and share photos.

Kennedy was one of the local businesspeople who attended Patch's Main Street U earlier this month at Westlake Porter Library. She came to learn more about social media, especially Facebook, and how she can use it to build her business.

"If I'm going to have a Facebook page, I want to do it right," she said.

Kennedy said she has gotten the suggestion from friends several times to open up a storefront business, but she's not interested.

"This is something I want to enjoy," she said. "I don't want it to be so big that I'm never home. I like working at home, and working my business around my family. I can put on my music and work here, and be here when my kids get home from school. I'm very fortunate in being able to do that."

For more information on Cookies by Cris, contact Kennedy at 440-617-9795 or by email at criskennedy@wowway.com.

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