When Thumbs Cookies’ owner and founder Robyn Frank was a child, she used to bake tiny, circular butter cookies, finished with a thumb print, with her mother, Barb. They would share the cookies with their family, friends, and community members any opportunity they got.
Today, Thumbs Cookies is sharing with its community again.
Frank’s business practically vanished when the pandemic hit, and she found herself with tons of inventory at risk of going to waste. So when the chief of staff at Bethesda Medical Center in St. Paul—the dedicated Covid-19 facility for the Twin Cities—reached out to her in need of snacks for her staff who were working grueling shifts, Frank didn’t hesitate even a moment.
The team of 20 local businesses has now served more than 10,000 frontline workers nationwide in more than 30 facilities. And they're still going.
TCB: How has your work changed/been disrupted by the coronavirus?
Frank | It’s hard to sum it all up... At first, when everything started shutting down, it was crickets. The only thing I had going for the business was that we were on Amazon. And it was the only activity we were seeing in sales. All wholesale accounts came to a halt, and any corporate orders we had lined up were in limbo. Not to mention, I had to tell all of my workers to stay home. Right before the crisis hit, we had just finished construction on KIRBY, our new Cookie Trailer that we were planning to roll out this spring. But all events we had lined up were cancelled or postponed.
Q. Anything you’re able to do right now to compensate for lost work or create new streams of revenue?
A | Right away, we started curbside pick-up, delivery, and amped up our shipping. Those have all been gaining momentum, which is definitely encouraging.
Q. Tell us what you’re doing right now to benefit your community?
After serving almost 10,000 frontline workers nationwide, 20 local businesses are now participating in the Snack Pack, and 30-plus facilities have been served. We have raised enough to keep serving frontline heroes and paying back businesses at cost through at least May.
There’s so much more to say, but the whole experience has been completely inspiring. Even in a moment of so much fear, uncertainty, and economic panic, we are seeing the good in people firsthand. It has been a pretty incredible effort. The best part is seeing all of these local businesses come together. Every week we pack the packs and bring them out to people’s cars. There are endless stories of people that need uplifting right now. And we are able to show our love in food to so many.
Q. Do you think this pandemic will have a lasting impact on your business or how you run your business?
Q. Any other bright spots in this crisis?
To donate to Thumbs Cookies’ MN Hero Snack Pack project, visit thumbscookies.com.