Bloom Cookie Co. started with a potluck. Well, a series of them. Owner Ashley Benson and her husband, Andrew Benson, used to host a lot of potlucks and, since many of their friends were vegan, Ashley tried to have options for them whenever possible. She enjoyed baking, and decided to whip up some cookies. Her husband, who was involved with the Royal Bison Art + Craft Fair, suggested she sell her wares at the holiday market. “People loved them,” Ashley says. “We had our daughter, she was really little still, so I thought, let’s try doing the farmers’ markets… let’s give it a shot, we’ll do the summer, if it doesn’t go anywhere that’s fine. And then it just kept going.”
The two of them played around with how to brand the cookies and focused on samples at first, making sure everyone walking by at least tried their treats. Most market attendees who tried them ended up circling back to get more.
Ashley has a few tried-and-true dough recipes that she works with at this point, but is always on the lookout for inspirations, and the flavours available at the market rotate on a regular basis. “It’s really driven by ingredients I find a lot of the time,” Ashley says. After a particularly busy holiday season where Ashley was driving around town with a car full of cookies, dropping off orders for customers, she had enough. “I got in the car, I think it was Christmas Eve, the last haul went out and I looked at Andrew and went, ‘I’m not doing this next year.’” They decided it was time to expand with a storefront. Finding a walkable area was high on their list of priorities, and they ended up falling in love with a space on 124th Street. They worked with several local businesses to create the space, including Oliver Apt. for the front counter and Concrete Cat for the countertops.
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This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.