PEARLAND, Texas – Business owners have been getting creative in ways to keep their business thriving during the pandemic. Thao Tran, a Pearland resident who owned a nail salon, decided to close up shop and start from scratch. She soon cooked up a new venture, Stacked Cookies, and is now enjoying the sweet smell of success.
“When we first started, it was just ‘Let’s just figure out COVID,’" said Tran. "I’m at home, the salon is closed - let’s just put it out in the neighborhood group. Let’s just bake and see what people want to order.”
The company started on a positive note with the help of a good friend and a good cause.
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In January of this year, my friend Patsy of Sticky’s Chicken (@stickyschicken) had their brick and mortar grand opening and I thought it would be nice to bring them chocolate chip cookies since they didn’t serve any desserts. Needless to say, they were gone in minutes! Fast forward to March, right after my salon was forced to close due to the governor’s stay at home orders, Patsy reached out to me and was so excited that they had been contacted by Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) to provide 400 meals for Ben Taub hospital nurses. I offered to bake 400 cookies to go along with the meals they were sending to the hospital the next day. So off to baking I went. A couple of days later, with the encouragement of my husband, I started offering the cookies in my neighborhood Facebook group. Within a few hours, we had over 200 cookies sold. Soon after, my friend Mandy (@mandynichols) wanted to blast our cookies out to all of Pearland. As demand grew and we got more orders, my husband and I thought to ourselves, “Maybe we’re on to something!” We got a larger mixer and better oven (@lantran_83 @acuddapah)! In a week, we came up with our name Stacked Cookies, got our logo and started our IG account. We started pickups for customers at Sticky’s Chicken once a week for those ordering in the Houston area. Then one week we got an order from Courtney Zavala (@courtneyzavala). She’d heard of us from a friend (@jtreilly27 @lorisakowitz) through a friend (@bobbymatos @jessnmatos) who had ordered cookies and shared them with her the week before. We chatted for a bit about how we started when she picked up her order. The following Monday she mentioned us on Houston Life (@HoustonLifeTV) and our system of ordering cookies through DMs got very overwhelming for 100 dozen orders. We quickly got our website up and running for ordering and from that point on, I’ve been coming up with new cookie flavors and ideas to keep y’all coming back for more! Thanks to Sheilla (@sheilla.nguyen) & Sylvia (@doandoan1130) for your hours of baking! Ben and I deeply thank our family and friends for all the support we’ve been given. Thank you to all of our customers!! ❤️ #stackedcookieshtx Thao
“My friend Patsy opened Sticky’s. She asked me to do cookies, then they shutdown during COVID. Then the end of March, Deshaun Watson, the quarterback, contacted her to do donation food boxes for nurses at Ben Taub Hospital. I baked cookies for her to add into that donation, and that’s how it all started.”
Tran has been baking for her family for years, though mostly just chocolate chip cookies. After shutting the doors at her nail salon due to the pandemic, she decided to continue putting her baking skills to use and kicked them into high gear.
“We got about 40 - 50 dozen orders within one weekend. My husband and I looked at each other and said, ‘We might have something here! Let’s move into Houston,'” said Tran. "We did pickups at Sticky’s, pickups in Pearland, and now we are shipping all over Texas as well.”
In the beginning, Tran was baking about 300 - 400 cookies a week. Now, she estimates they’re making around 1,000 - 1,200 cookies weekly. Tran is shocked by the company’s booming success.
“My husband said to me, ‘How did this happen? How did you come up with the recipes,’ and trust me there was a lot of fails," said Tran. "And now I want to say I have over 50 different flavors.”
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NEW 🍪🍪🍪 ALERT!!! “The Courtney” is named after our friend @courtneyzavala because she has requested a PB&J cookie since she found us. So now, here it is, and it will be available on a new menu in the next few weeks. Only catch is we can’t ship this cookie because it. will. melt. So it’ll only be available for pickup in Pearland when it hits the menu! #stackedcookieshtx
From classics like Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin, to unique flavors like Cinnamon Crack and Lemon Cream Pie, there’s a cookie to satisfy every sweet tooth. The company even dubbed a flavor after Houston Life’s very own Courtney Zavala called The Courtney: a classic combo of creamy peanut butter and a burst of grape jelly.
“We offer eight flavors on Sunday and Monday, and if you don’t get in that week you’ll have to wait four, five or six weeks for it to come back around,” said Tran. "That’s how we keep people coming back for more.”
To connect with Thao Tran, visit the Stacked Cookies website.