You could say cookies were Sheila Coon’s destiny.
Growing up, her mother owned a micro-bakery that specialized in two flavors of cookies and Coon would watch with awe her mother’s love of baking and the smiles on her customers’ faces.
Coon grew up and earned her degree in paralegal studies, working both as a paralegal and in human services – and even as a chef - but that little girl was still inside of her, inspired by her mother.
“I was always fascinated by the fact that she was just as happy with the baking process as the customers receiving them, which fueled my interest in owning my own food business fueled by passion and purpose,” said Coon.
Coon always knew she would eventually own her own restaurant or bakery. After divorcing her first husband, she found herself working 18 hours a day and homeless.
“I had had enough and began planning a way to create my own business, my own mobile real estate, my own way to stability, so I drafted a growth plan and set about making it come to life,” she said.
That was the start of her business, Hot Oven Cookies.
Coon and her second husband and business partner David Whittmore
Coon made her sweet dream come true, with a little help.
With grants and business counseling from SparkEfor All and mentoring from Valley Venture Mentors, help from “The Cookie List Book” and her children Luis, Nathaniel, Allyssa, Jacob, Jenei, Mia and Amelia, Coon launched her cookie cart in 2017 followed in 2018 by her cookie bakery at 1512 Allen Street in Springfield.
Hot Oven Cookies has continuously grown since Coon started sharing her delicious treats. While her mother specialized in two flavors, Hot Oven offers 1,005 different cookies on a rotating basis.
“Cookies became my passion when I realized that though they would be the focus of my niche, they could be infused and molded with whatever creative whim that struck me; always keeping our menu fresh and new,” said Coon.
Coon’s plans changed a bit since she got started.
“My initial plan was to grow to 20 cookie carts and then franchise that model, but after our closing for the winter in 2017, our customers chased us down and demanded we never keep them from our cookies again so we opened our first shop in 2018,” she said.
Hot Oven’s flavors are what keep people craving more.
“Our menu consists of five ALWAYS Cookies – our ‘Signature Cookies’ - and WEEKLIES Cookies, which is a rotating menu of 1,000 cookies,” Coon said. “The most popular cookie ever is our Guava Cheesecake cookie, our coquito cookie filled with guava and cream cheese and topped with a vanilla powdered sugar topping.”
Coon’s personal favorite is the Mudslide Brookie Cookie which is offered weekly in different renditions.
Hot Oven specializes in all things cookie, including fresh-baked, Cookie Sundaes, Cookie Sammies, and Take + Bake Dough, which allows customers to bake at their pace and leisure in their home or office and in whatever size they want.
Coon said between variety and comfort, Hot Oven Cookies’ customers are always satisfied.
“Our cookies are definitely a comfort food, but the fact that we offer three new cookie flavors weekly from a 1,000+ cookie menu also offers them excitement and a sweet adventure,” she said. Coons’ quest to fulfill the region’s cookie needs will continue this year, with plans to open two more shops and one or two more cookie trucks in western Mass. And northern Conn.
To get your sweet tooth satisfied,
visit Hot Oven Cookies Tuesday – Saturday
from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. or until cookies are sold-out