For Jordyn Foster, it’s her “Easy Bake Oven dream” come true.
After years of being in business, her Milk & Co. has finally opened a brick and mortar location, bringing her gourmet cookies to Downtown Guelph at 3A Wyndham St.
Foster, 27, has been running Milk & Co. full-time since 2020, and as a side hustle for even longer, baking gourmet cookies inspired by the world-renowned cookie spot Levain Bakery in Manhattan.
She started baking and selling cookies out of her house in 2017, and eventually began renting commercial kitchen space out of Killer Cupcakes, offering cookies for purchase in store and online for delivery.
For a while, she balanced her hobby-turned-side-hustle by baking for hours after work on evenings and on weekends.
But that all changed when the pandemic hit.
“With COVID, my position was removed from the location I was (in), which was a big shock, because I had been there for five years.”
But after the dust settled and she got over the “ego blow,” she started thinking about what it was she actually wanted to do.
So Foster asked herself, if she could work a 12-hour day and still wanted to bake cookies for another five or six hours, why was she not pursuing that more?
By April 2020 she was running the business full-time. And as it continued to grow, she realized she would need more space.
“You can only grow so much in somebody else’s business before you’re impeding on their space,” she said. She would either need to scale it back and keep it as a hobby, or go all in with a brick and mortar storefront.
“It was very tough to convince the people around me that that was a safe bet, because there’s no safety when it comes to entrepreneurship.”
But, she said, there was no better time for her to try, and she has no regrets.
Since she opened her storefront, she said there has been “a constant flow of people coming in.”
“The absolute support from the community has not gone unnoticed. I know for a fact that I don’t exist without the people around me. I’m very grateful for them,” she said.
The flavours change daily, ranging from things like the 'O.G. chocolate chip' to fun twists like 'toasted smoreo' and 'cosmic brownie.'
Getting creative with baking is something Foster has loved ever since she was a child.
“God bless my parents, they ate (so many) Easy Bake Oven disgusting creations,” she said.
Now, whenever she reflects on how far she's come, she says it's her "10-year-old self's Easy Bake Oven dream come to life."
This love of baking was nurtured at a young age by her great grandmother Vera.
“Anytime you’d go to her house, she just had trays and trays of cookies and date squares. And that was her way of showing how much she loved and cared for the people around her,” she said.
Foster’s favourite was the chocolate chip.
“They weren’t anything extravagant; they were crisp and chewy. But I always knew when she made them because her house would smell a particular way,” she said.
Now, every time she makes chocolate chip cookies, the smell gives her goosebumps.
“When I open the oven it reminds me over her, instantly takes me to standing in the foyer of her house,” she said. “It truly is an extension of my great grandmother.”
Vera’s labour of love is something Foster has adopted with her own baking, from the work that goes into her cookies, to working with charities like Hope House and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“For me, it’s an extension of what I do,” she said. “So finally being in a position where I’m able to donate, whether it’s cookies or financially contributing, is my most favourite thing.”
Milk & Co. is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.