Cathy Vande Mheer’s dream has become a reality. She’s still in the process of outfitting the store with shelves, decorations and other welcoming signs about how happy they are to be open! Cathy is really excited about finally having a place to hold her cookie and craft classes. At the Cookie Cottage you will totally get involved in her class called “creative cookies for any occasion.” If you missed their ribbon cutting for the grand opening with the Chamber of Commerce, there will be many more up and coming events, parties, fundraisers and childrens birthday parties. Cathy strongly believes in being community-minded and is involved in various charities and fundraisers during the year.
The historic downtown village where the cottage is has many sister cottages all around and on each block. It’s like a resurgence of creative vitality and you could easily start your day off with fresh muffins and cookies and work your way around the other shops. There is an organic babywear shop, the Fickle Fish, which features decorative items of the ocean theme, the Artful Giraffe, an art gallery, a beauty spa, a women’s consignment shop and of course, the well-known Breakfast House.
Cathy attributes much of her enthusiasm to the networking group she associated herself with. It’s a small group of people who meet and exchange ideas and give each other support. Cathy has only been in Florida a few years, so this friendly neighborhood group was encouraging and cheered her on in her endeavors.
Having relocated from Nebraska, which is a different altitude and calls for many different ingredients, Cathy had to experiment with each recipe, adapting the ingredients to a higher humidity and a lower altitude. Who woulda thought this could be so complicated? However, turning them into fun edible crafts is still the same. If you’re looking for something fun to do for the any up-and-coming holiday, Cathy has a simple cookie project for you to do. In fact, around the 4th of July, she always makes Watermelon rice crispy treats and watermelon cookies. This woman’s brain and creativity are busy at work, formulating the next project or delicious munchy to delight her customers with.
A great gift idea for any occasion is a cookie/muffin basket, with other delightful sweets thrown in. A large part of her holiday success is creating wonderfully colorful baskets of all kinds of treats. Cathy loves to hold classes in her store and mentioned to me that she offers children’s birthday parties, where everyone gets a chance to decorate their own cookies and bake them, as well. While they’re baking, Cathy has them busy playing some fun games. Cathy used to be a teacher and her patience and enthusiasm certainly shines through. She is so generous and always thinking of others. She actually gives her day old cookies to Meals on Wheels. An unexpected treat goes a long way to make a shut-in happy!
You’ll want to visit the Cookie Cottage one day and sip coffee while you taste and smell the wonderful aromas emanating from the oven in the back of the store. She’s got chewy cookies, crispy cookies, and muffins to die for, not to mention cup cakes. Sit and hang out for awhile and enjoy your favorite beverage, like soda, juice, water, coffee and hot tea. Every fourth Friday you’ll see Cathy and her Cookie Cottage Staff participating in the city’s festivities.
Cookie Cottage is now open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Their Wednesday summer hours are 2 – 5 p.m. On Saturday the Cookie Cottage is open from 10 a.m. To 2 p.m. They are located at 335 Gillespie Avenue off Fruitville Road in Sarasota. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover cards are welcome. Cathy does need 48 hours for hand decorated cookies. Call her and see what great ideas she can come up with for your party or social event. You can reach her at 941-552-6914. Visit their Website!