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Guelph-based cookie dough business 'explodes' during pandemic

Bliss Dough is now available in every Longo's store across the province

Jessica Hewitt and Dave Hewitt never expected their raw cookie dough business, Bliss Dough, to grow as fast as it did.

What started as a husband’s loving gesture of making cookie dough to satisfy his wife’s craving grew into a successful business last year with the couple creating each cookie jar themselves and delivering it to customers across Guelph. A second location was added in Waterloo.

Now, as of last week, Bliss Dough is available in all 35 Longo’s locations across the province. 

“I never in a million years would have thought this would happen,” said Jessica Hewitt. 

She said making it into Longo’s was a feeling of "pure disbelief."

“It just blew our mind. I was like what is happening? How is this still growing?” said Hewitt.

She said she's seen interest from businesses across Canada with a second major grocery chain reaching out this week wanting to bring Bliss Dough onto its shelves. 

Longo’s is currently carrying three Bliss Dough flavours: chocolate chip, cookies and cream and peppermint brownie.

The future of Bliss Dough in Longo’s depends on how well it does as a featured product in the store's three month Foodie Finds program.

“We’ve already had so many of our customers reaching out being like ‘I found it in this one!’ and sending us pictures of it on shelves and stuff like that. It’s really amazing,” said Hewitt.

Each jar is priced at a little under $7. 

Hewitt said she and her husband never expected this business to grow this rapidly.

“We weren't expecting it to be a thing at all,” said Hewitt. “It was just a side hustle to afford travel.”

And travel they did. The success of Bliss Dough took the couple to Spain, Paris and Portugal up until the pandemic hit. 

“Our business exploded right when the lockdown started happening in March, April,” said Hewitt.

Sales doubled in that time frame than all of last year. And with their business set up as delivery, it just happened to be prepared for the pandemic. 

“It was insane. Insane,” said Hewitt.

So they began to expand for the first time and hired three production specialists, Leah Fitzpatrick, Robyn Quinn, Amy Vos and a production manager, Christine Watson-Middleton.

“They’re a part of it and it wouldn’t be what it is without them,” said Hewitt.  

Once the pandemic hit, the couple moved production to a larger location in the same plaza but three times the size at 3 Watson Rd. S.

“We would do launches at 4 p.m. every other day and we would put up thousands of jars online and it would sell within 10 minutes. It would be sold out. It was crazy to just sit there and watch it roll in. It was so exciting but it was also like, what are we going to do?” said Hewitt. 

She said many customers were purchasing jars to send their families friends and front line workers as ‘I miss you’ and ‘thank you’ gifts.

“We had quite a bunch of people who would buy dough for an entire floor of nurses,” said Hewitt.

“It's become quite the giftable item and now we have a holiday box.”

Now that the team has expanded, the couple can take a step back from making the cookie dough and focus on the business side of things. 

Hewitt said the business would have never grown without the dedicated support of all its customers and is always willing to connect with them. 

“It’s just the best feeling,” said Hewitt “If you come into the store and ask about the business, we’ll chat with you.”

“When people come in and they seem genuinely just excited about the brand and about us and everything, I’ll take them for a tour in the kitchen and show them around.”

Hewitt said she hopes the business grows Canada-wide. 

“I definitely had the warm fuzzies 100 times this week just from all the support from people going out to the various Longo's locations. We just get lots of messages from people saying ‘thank you so much. I really needed this,’” said Hewitt.