Coffee cookies creating a buzz
After 10 years of reinventing their product, the creators of Buzz Strong coffee cookies hit an important milestone on July 3.
They sent their first shipment to Asia, a part of the world known more for manufacturing American products than consuming them.
For Carl Weisberg, who along with his wife, Carolee, have been working on this venture, it is a significant step for a company they hoped would have turned the corner years ago.
“I thought this was going to be a sprint, but it’s turned out to be more than a marathon,” he said recently. “We’ve gone down a lot of roads that have led us nowhere.”
But not all roads have been dead ends.
In the past year, companies, such as Rite-Aid and Raleys have began stocking the cookies. The Wayne Brown Correctional Center in Nevada City and the Los Angeles Unified School District are also customers.
Locally, Buzz Strong cookies can be found at Taco Shell in Penn Valley, Natural Valley Health Foods in the Brunswick Basin, Port of Subs in Grass Valley, SPD in Nevada City and numerous area convenience stores.
“This is like it’s going to be our year to take off,” Weisberg said.
Buzz Strong cookies are a product of Top Floor Creations, which was started in 1998 in the Nevada City home of the Weisbergs.
The concept combines Carolee’s baking skills, Carl’s marketing savvy and a feeling there might be an appetite for a product that has two popular elements ” coffee and cookies.
Over the years, the investor-owned company has been known as C&Cs, Eat Your Coffee Cookies and now Buzz Strong’s Real Coffee Cookies. During that time the recipe, which now has all natural ingredients, has been refined to the point where company owners, customers and thei bakery are happy with the product.
“This is the type of item we like,” said Mike Bielenberg, the general manager of The Baking Company in Ukiah. “It’s a natural and niche product.”
Top Floor Creations has four products: their signature coffee cookie and chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal raisin cookies for children and decaffeinated consumers.
Caffeine, not surprisingly, is the key ingredient in the coffee cookies, according to Weisberg. After years of tasting, testing and getting feedback, the label clearly states that its two-cookie pack has the equivalent of one cup of coffee, an important selling point for the company.
“We’ve created real value here and have a unique selling proposition that says two cookies is equal to a cup of coffee,” he said. “This is not a me-too product. It’s a special product.”
The other important aspect of the company is the Buzz Strong character, which, like the rest of the company, has evolved over the years. Now he’s a familiar figure on packages.
The first character was modeled after movie star Leonardo DiCaprio. The character had a preppy look and two dogs as companions. Buzz Strong now looks more like a hip super hero, an identity the company believes is embraced by customers.
“We’re the most popular cookie at the Wayne Brown Correction Center,” Weisberg said. “But think about it. If you’re in jail, do you want to eat a Grandma’s cookie or a Buzz Strong cookie?”
To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4239.
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