This week’s maker is a personal friend and was a patron at the AFK Tavern. Tracy Murphy is a baker out of Granite Falls WA, she runs a business called Treats by Tracy. You could often catch Tracy at the AFK Tavern before COVID dancing, and occasionally singing karaoke for all of us. Her laugh was recognizable across the bar and there were always hugs all around.
I really want to help her out with getting her business out there this week and put my own 2 cents in about her great products. I’ve ordered cookies from her and they were by far the best oatmeal raisin cookies I have had to date. When I asked her about when she first started baking and why, she had this to say, ”I don’t remember when or why I started baking. I think I was about 12 or 13, and just decided to make cookies one day, and never really stopped. I moved on to cakes, breads, pastries, and back to cookies”.
Her treats are individually packaged and so cute! I know from personal experience that a lot of care and love goes into these goodies. Tracy did a special request for me one Christmas of no-bake oatmeal cookies and they were all the most perfectly even little round cookies. They always look great and professional.
All of us have been affected by the pandemic and people have had to adjust their careers. I know Tracy has been in the same business of customer service for years and having to adjust to working from home has been rough. I asked her how COVID has impacted her business. She had this to say: “I started my business back up because of Covid, though I have been trying off and on to make it go for the last 15 years”. During the shutdown, we at AFK Tavern offered Tracy use of our kitchen to make her treats. That’s how much we believe in her!
Technology has been our major avenue for buying and selling products while dealing with social distancing, and shutdowns. In this day and age of Patreon, all of the different online marketplaces, and website creation being so readily available has helped the small makers and businesses to thrive. I wanted to know how Technology has helped her in particular. Tracy said that technology like Facebook and Patreon has helped her reach a broader audience. Being able to receive mobile application payments has also been extremely nice.
On to my favorite part, the actual Treats! Picking her brain about the recipes that she loves and what’s most popular. I started with her personal favorite, it’s a hard question and changes with mood. She said that she loves all of them, at different times. Her family has their own favorites. She stated that “Dad loved peanut butter and molasses. Those and Oreos lol “. Then I asked what her brother Travis gravitated toward. His favorites mirrored his dad. “As much as I can remember, Travis liked the same ones. He, being the pickiest eater ever”.
This business is driven by the masses. Making what other people want to order is what makes it work. I asked about crowd favorites next. The answers didn’t surprise me as these selections are amazing.
She said that the favorites have been molasses cookies and soft lemon cookies, with white chocolate macadamia a solid 2nd place. I continued to ask about some of the details. With all of our food allergies and intolerances having a baking business must be adaptable. I wanted to know if her recipes were able to be made gluten-free. She’s already got that nailed down, almost all of her recipes can be made dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free on request. She’s got something for everyone.
Looking to our ever-changing and honestly uncertain future I asked if this is something that she wanted to make a full-time career out of. She had this to say: ” I’d like it to eventually be a career for me. I’d much rather be baking than sitting at a desk in a call center. For now, it’s a tiny bit of supplemental income, but I’m trying to grow it slowly.
I’d like to be able to have a small commercial space and be able to provide, small-batch, freshly made cookies and cookie dough, retail and wholesale, maybe a small coffee shop type bakery using locally sourced ingredients and seasonal flavors of baked goods or light lunches beyond cookies to pastries and loaves of bread. Who knows what the future will bring, but that’s been my dream for a long time.
Comfort has been a fleeting thing for some of us lately, and these treats are made by hand and have the comforting feeling of home in every package. Let’s continue to help our local makers and friends by supporting what they love to do and giving ourselves a little taste of comfort.
You can find Treats By Tracy on her Patreon and through her Facebook business page.