When Mitzi Moore moved from Colorado to Goodyear, she was unsure about returning to the banking industry.
Her daughter, Kayla Randell, had a sweet plan. She suggested starting a Mary’s Mountain Cookies store in their new home state.
Randell learned about the company from owner Mary Johns, her client at a hair salon in Colorado.
“I used to work with her daughter, who was a MAC makeup artist,” Randell said. “She referred her to me. I didn’t know about Mary’s Mountain Cookies until she brought in this tray of cookies. The whole salon lit up.
“The more she came in, the more I learned about her and her incredible story.”
Randell said Johns started baking cookies on a dude ranch 30 years ago. From there, she moved her operation into a mop closet because she couldn’t find anything affordable.
“I remember going to the mall and getting those cookies when I was little,” Randell said. “I remember, at the time, nothing like that existed. I wanted something like that, someplace I can just walk in and love it.”
On Johns’ advice, the mother-daughter team opened Mary’s Mountain Cookies in Peoria’s Park West in early December.
“When my husband and I moved down here, we didn’t know a soul,” Moore said. “We just liked the weather. We were tired of the snow. I’ve always worked at a credit union. I got down here and I wanted to do something different. I’d done baking all my life.
“Then Kayla called me and said, ‘Mom, what do you think about opening a cookie store?’”
Randell added, “I thought I would have to do way more convincing, but she instantly said yes.”
Moore thought it would be the perfect business to pass on to her kids. It’s the perfect way for her family to bond, too.
“At my old job, I couldn’t even have my phone,” Moore added. “I couldn’t communicate. I thought that would be cool to work with my family and have them come in to help.”
In the United States, there are only a handful of Mary’s Mountain Cookies stores, including one in Scottsdale owned by a different family. Johns calls the independent owners her “cookie family,” Randell said.
Johns provides the recipes and receives royalties for them, Moore said. Johns only teams with owners she trusts will own a Mary’s Mountain Cookies store for the “right reasons,” Randell said.
“She doesn’t want anybody to buy it and then walk away,” Randell added. “She wants it to be like a family. She’ll come in and stop by, stay a couple days and play with the dough recipes,” Moore interjected.
Recently, Moore’s 4- and 6-year-old grandchildren helped around the store on a visit from Colorado.
At Mary’s Mountain Cookies, the dough is in-house, and customers can watch the staff create it in the open kitchen. Each day, Mary’s Mountain Cookies has 21 flavors, including the classics — oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and peanut butter.
Snickerdoodle- and chocolate chip-based cookies are gluten free. Sugar-free cookies are being considered.
The store, which also sells ice cream, edible cookie dough and drinks, can create custom cookies for celebrations.
“We can’t do anything that crazy, but we do our best to make our customers happy,” Moore said.