At 6, Cory Nieves had an ambitious plan: Sell hot chocolate in his Englewood, N.J., neighborhood, and save enough money to buy his mom a car. “I was tired of taking the bus,” he says. “And I wanted to help my mom.”
Nieves sold Swiss Miss for $1 a cup. When he sensed an opportunity for more substantial treats, he started searching online for the perfect cookie recipe. After three months of baking with his mom, Nieves bit into what he thought was the perfect chocolate chip cookie. The recipe was a hit. “That’s when we knew we had a business — when people started taking our cookies seriously,” says Nieves.
He and his mom began taking cookies to local races and festivals, where Nieves would pitch potential customers with irrefutable lines like “Life’s too short to not eat a cookie!”
Business (and local press) grew consistently, and in 2015, Nieves was invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show — and the response was overwhelming. More orders came in than Nieves and his mom could possibly fill. “It caused a huge supply-and-demand issue,” he says. To scale, they sought outside investment and hit TV gold again: An appearance on CNBC’s The Profit earned Mr. Cory’s Cookies a $100,000 cash infusion. An e-commerce site was launched, “cookie helpers” were charter, and product started shipping across the country.
Today, the company offers 14 flavors, and Nieves has high hopes for expansion — and for his own future. “When I get older and finish college, I want to leave Mr. Cory’s Cookies for a little bit,” he says. “I’ll start somewhere at the bottom and work my way up.” He’s done it once — no reason he can’t do it again.