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Skidmore College

Getting loopy on cookies

April 9, 2013

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It’s the end of a long work day and you’re trudging through Chicago’s busy Loop. Suddenly, hope springs up in the form of homemade cookies and fresh milk, thanks to a dreamer named Maggie.

Magdalen Andreoni ’13
Maggie Andreoni ’13

Magdalen Andreoni ’13 remembers standing on a stool in her family’s kitchen helping her dad bake cakes and “excitedly waiting to lick the chocolate-covered spatula.” Once she was tall enough to stand solo, she “took over the kitchen, baking every dessert under the sun.” Says the studio art major, “My dream has always been to bake and sell my own desserts—the perfect balance of sweet and savory, devilishly delicious and nutritiously divine.”

Welcome to Andreoni’s new business, The Cookie Jar. Operating out of a colorful food truck, she aims to establish “the only specialty-cookie mobile shop in Chicago,” her hometown. Using gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan recipes she developed from scratch—such as chocolate chip, “oatmeal monster,” peanut-butter chocolate chunk, and gingersnap—she’s targeting Chicago’s Loop, the second-largest commercial district in the US after Manhattan. She’s also offering Oberweis milk (2 percent and skim) from a beloved local dairy farm.

The self-described CEO, CFO, COO and CMO of The Cookie Jar, Adreoni is one of six finalists vying for a total of $50,000 in cash and business services in Skidmore’s Third Annual Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition, launched by Ken Freirich ’90, a “serial entrepreneur” who is president of Health Monitor Network. The prizes are intended to catalyze students’ starting or growing their own businesses. The final round starts at 2:45 p.m. Friday, April 12, in the Payne Presentation Room of the Tang Museum.

Having never taken a business course at Skidmore, Andreoni says the contest’s mandatory fall workshops were crucial to her understanding of how to conceive and write a business plan. She also appreciated the “soft deadlines for each section of the business plan, which helped me manage my time and feel that I could take on the enormity of starting a business.”

What terrified her were the financials; however, she discovered that she “loved arranging the numbers in neat, organized charts and graphs. The ability to see my business in numbers made The Cookie Jar feel so much more real. Time seemed to disappear as I spent hours and hours calculating, checking, and rechecking.”

Advising Andreoni is Mary Vail ’80, the president and chief designer of Joyelles Jewelers and, says Andreoni, “a true delight to work with. We constantly talk about new ideas and possibilities for bringing my business to the next level. Mary’s advice has led me to begin making contacts in Chicago and setting up legal paperwork for the food truck.”

Long-term, Andreoni hopes to expand by selling cookies in bulk to local cafes and shops, as well as opening up a storefront bakery. “I want to be a part of the food industry, carving my own path and serving my own treats,” she says. For more, see this brief video.

The other finalists:

Seth Berger ’14 aims to grow East Coast Lacrosse, the single-member LLC he established in 2010, into a leader in custom athletic apparel. Advising Berger is Jim Rossi ’82, managing partner of the Saratoga Polo Association and chief marketing officer for the United States Polo Association.

Alexander Nassief ’16 and Brianna Barros ’16, having established Rum Dogs Inc., aim to implement a proprietary method for aging rum in barrels submerged in the Caribbean Sea and produce a premium brand, called Black Cap Rum, for the Dominican market. “The product line will serve as a symbol of Dominican ingenuity whilst adhering to local values of eco-friendliness,” they say. Advising them is Catherine Hill, F. William Harder Professor of Business Administration at Skidmore.

Samuel Schultz ’13, who spent a year in Beijing, hopes to provide residential summer-camp placement services in the U.S. for English-speaking Chinese nationals through his Summer Destinations Company. Advising Schulz is Nancy Wekselbaum ’73, president of the Gracious Gourmet.

Jasmyn Elise Story ’15 is an anthropology major launching a new Atlanta-based LLC, Forcast. It aims to change the way casting agents hire extras through a new smartphone app that enables casting agents to quickly and easily browse profiles created by a large pool of non-union actors. The app will be developed by Justin Colvin ’14, a computer science major who will share in the partnership. Advising Story is Jody Klein ’85, president of ABKCO Records and a Skidmore parent.

Kelsey Yam ’13 is a management and business major who is also a star forward on Skidmore’s soccer team. Having interned with Soccer Without Borders in Kampala, Uganda, she proposes to establish a satellite program in Fort Portal, a city in western Uganda. Her program is targeted for poverty-stricken refugee girls under 15. Advising Yam is Rich Flaherty, president and CEO, Cove Risk Services. 

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