PLEASANT VALLEY — While being labeled as having a cookie-cutter life maybe considered undesirable to some as it means identical to many others or formulaic, the label is a point of pride for a family-owned business in Pleasant Valley.
Joel and Tammy Hughes established Off the Beaten Path in the early 1990s, selling cookie cutters in magazines after being encouraged by Joel’s entrepreneurial mother.
“Then, once computers and internet came around, we got the domain for Cookiecutter.com, now that’s how people know us,” said Tammy.
After more than two decades in business, the family operation is the largest manufacturer of cookie cutters west of the Mississippi River, molding and selling roughly 500,000 tin and plastic cookie cutters each year from its facility off Royal Street.
“A lot of the manufacturing of cookie cutters have moved out of the country to places like China, so there really is only about three of us manufacturers left in the United States,” Tammy said.
Today, from its warehouse and manufacturing facility in Pleasant Valley, the company makes and sells thousands of various designs of cookie cutters and has garnered national notoriety with recognition from magazines like Women’s Day and Better Homes and Gardens and cooking and lifestyle TV stars like Martha Stewart and The Pioneer Woman’s Ree Drummond.
“Now, in addition to our site, Cookiecutter.com, we sell cookie cutters through eBay and we have a strong retail presence through Amazon and Walmart,” Tammy said. “There are also others who buy from us and then sell our cutters on sites like Etsy. … We also have had people come by. We like when people stop in and can sell to them here as well.”
In addition to manufacturing upwards of 2,000 of available designs, Tammy said her company is happy to make custom cutters for customers, as long as enough cutters are ordered to cover the roughly $500 cost for the mold.
“Right now, we are working on cutters for the makers of the game Candy Crush,” she said.
In time for the winter holidays and ahead of National Cookie Day, which was Wednesday, Dec. 4, the staff — a graphic designer, lead manufacturer and order fillers — were hard at work Monday, Dec. 2, putting together nativity cookie cutter sets and making individual menorah cutters.
In addition to selling individual cutters, Cookiecutter.com sells miniature cookie cutters, sets of various sizes and shapes, decorating supplies and other baking needs like parchment paper, spatulas, piping bags and tips, food coloring and sugars.
“We like to consider ourselves a one-stop shop for customers,” Tammy said.