Custom Fortune Cookie Company Finds Success With Help From SCORE Mentor
Bonnie Chow Gutierrez secured a small business loan and bought a fortune cookie company in North Houston when she was just 27 years old. But she soon found profits to be lagging and knew she would have to innovate and sell to new markets in order to make money from her venture. With the guidance and technical expertise of her SCORE Houston mentors, she has managed to stay in business for 27 years and is credited with inventing the giant fortune cookie.
Bonnie quickly realized that selling only to Chinese restaurants wasn't enough to keep her business alive. So she created the custom fortune cookie and the now popular giant fortune cookie. By putting the creativity in her customer's hands, her business has blossomed. Her cookies were recently featured on the Food Network and the movie "Freaky Friday" starring Jamie Lee Curtis. She has served famous clients including Kiefer Sutherland and has shipped orders for the campaigns of both President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Reflecting on her 27 years in business Bonnie said, "I have had a lot of fun, it is this creative part of me that gets a different kind of satisfaction from it. It's not about money. It is providing something for people's celebrations."
After running into a jam when a critical piece of machinery, her 37-year old handmade cookie press, had broken and no local service technicians were available, Bonnie called the Houston chapter of SCORE - the same place she had called years prior for financial advice when first starting out. This time she was paired with mentor Mike Weltzien, a mechanical engineer who knew exactly how to fix her problem.
"Mike was just amazing. I have never met anyone like him and he has been such an inspiration," Bonnie says. "I will never be able to repay his kindness. I am forever indebted to him."