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Meet Joe Lamondi of Cookie Spin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Lamondi.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Joe. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always had a passion for being in the kitchen. My Grandmother started baking with me when I was two years old, and that continued throughout my childhood and teenage years. When I was in college I began working for a catering company, and continued there post-graduation, gaining valuable experience in the field. When I was 24, I came up with an idea to produce a warm cookie sundae bar for on-site catering. At that point, I started playing around with different doughs and ideas for cookies. I came up with a super thick, deep dish cookie… I’ve always thought the best part of a cookie is the gooey center, so I wanted a way to maximize that area. Shortly after this revelation, I booked my first event, and continued doing lots of catering events around the Chicagoland area. After about two and a half years of catering and wholesaling, business was going well enough to allow me to open my first retail location at 4350 N. Leavitt St. in Chicago. We continue to do lots of catering events in addition to the storefront bakery and ice cream shop, open year-round.

My shop is decorated with supplies from my grandma’s kitchen: utensils, aprons, platters, jars, etc… She passed away about four years ago, but we keep her presence alive in my shop, as she inspired me to bake.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There has definitely been a lot of struggles along the way. Taking my small catering company into a retail space was a big chance. For the first few years I was working out of rental kitchens, by the hour, so little risk and overhead. Going from that, to my own space was a huge step in many ways, but a step I needed to take in the progression of my business. That being said, I of course had never opened a retail shop before, so there was a lot of learning, mistakes, and lessons.

I would say my biggest lesson would be that not everyone out there goes about their business the same way you do. I suppose I had this rosy image of business in my head, that I would make desserts, and everyone would love them, and there would never be any problems; partly because for the first few years of my business, that was basically the case. However, taking the next step and expanding, there are so many more aspects and interactions.

I started my business when I was 24, and opened the retail location at 27, so I am relatively young compared to others in business. Many times, when I tell people I am the owner, they look confused, almost as if I couldn’t be the owner since I am so young.

Being young, and in some ways inexperienced, is a challenge, but I am never afraid to ask for help or advice from others that have been there before. I try to embrace my strengths as a business owner, while being aware of my weaknesses. I try to remind myself all the time, that I have come a long way, since I started this company. I learn something every day that makes me a better businessman.

Cookie Spin – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our cookies themselves are very unique; we call them soft-batch deep dish cookies. They are very thick, as well as soft and gooey in the center. We have 15 regular menu cookies, plus new specials every week. We also serve Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream in our shop, and with that, combine the two to create warm cookie sundaes! Our other signature item is the Bake Shake, which is a cookie chopped up and spun into a thick milkshake. Our specials and combinations are incredibly unique, and absolutely delicious! In addition to pastry and ice cream, we also have our own line of coffee called “Coffee Spin” which individual roasts pair directly to our cookies.

What we were known for originally was our on-site Warm Cookie Sundae Bar for event catering. We provide a full-service dessert stand in which we allow guests to design their own warm cookie sundae: cookie + ice cream + unlimited toppings. It works great for all types of events- birthday parties, weddings, corporate events, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, etc…

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me is moving myself and my business forward every day. Even if it’s a small step, progress is progress. There are some days where we sell a thousand cookies, and I book 5 catering events, and I feel on top of the world, and then there are others when you wonder if we’re going to make it- that’s just the ups and downs of business.

Regardless of sales, in order to be successful, I personally have to get better every day, and so does my business.

As important as sales and money are, I enjoy the compliments and customer smiles just as much. I feel that if I put a great product out there, and do the right thing morally, success will follow.

Pricing:

  • Small Deep Dish Cookie- $2.50
  • Large Deep Dish Cookie- $4.50
  • Small Warm Deep Dish Cookie Sundae- $4.75
  • Large Warm Deep Dish Cookie Sundae- $7.50
  • Bake Shake- $8.50 (cookie + milkshake)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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