Year founded: 1985 Number of employees: 30
Top official: Robert S. Cooley Jr., owner
Company description: “Award-winning bakery featuring the finest pastries, breads, cakes, desserts and more”
Company growth: “Since coming to Wilmington in 1985, we have grown each year and look forward to continuing this in the foreseeable future. We stick to our core fresh, handmade products but continue to introduce new treats and services to meet changing customer needs.”
How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “We currently employee 30+ employees and want to grow. We provide products and services to both our retail customers and wholesale accounts locally and regionally. We consider investing in our community a core value and support many local businesses and organizations as a means to give back.”
What are your future goals for the product? “We continue to deliver our core products consistently while being on the cutting edge of new product trends and baking technology. We are working hard to provide customers online access to our products with an eventual ability to ship some of our products to our friends worldwide.”
Year founded: 1996
Number of employees: 15
Top official: Sallie and Carter Price
Company info: Goodness Gracie Gourmet Foods sells hand-crafted sweet and savory treats. The business started in 1995 when founder Sallie Price, who at the time was working in catering, needed to whip up a dessert for an event.
She found inspiration in one of her mother’s recipes, and Goodness Gracie’s Heavenly Toffee Cookie was born, and requests for more started.
“Soon, Sallie was operating a small cookie company as a sideline to catering, baking batches and batches of cookies in the kitchen of her father’s guest cottage at Wrightsville Beach,” according to the award nomination for the company, which is named after the Prices’ dog.
“Goodness Gracie quickly outgrew the cottage and the business moved to a commercial space. Sallie’s husband, Carter, quit his full-time job in 2000 to partner with her in the cookie business.”
It now has in its lineup of several other flavors of toffee cookies and four savory treats, such as Sinful Salted Pecans. The company’s products are handmade in small batches.
Year founded: 2016
Number of employees: 70
Top official: Amber and Jud Watkins, owners
Company description: Wrightsville Beach Brewery opened its doors in early 2017. The husband-and-wife team runs the nearly 10,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Oleander Drive, with a menu that highlights local seafood.
Target market: “Craft beer lovers”
Company growth: “We started as our only employees (and unpaid at that) and now have more than 70. We have three great teams including our brewing staff, our kitchen staff and our serving staff.”
How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “We have a staff of 70 that believe in our local, family-owned business and enjoy supporting other local restaurants and breweries.”
How did you originally come up with the concept for your product? “10 years ago oystering behind Masonboro Island – while drinking a beer”
What are your future goals for the product? “To purchase the struggling company, Budweiser/InBEV in the next five years and return it to its American roots.”
Cece Nunn - Mar 16, 2018
Christina Haley O'Neal - Mar 16, 2018
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