PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Leslie Bullock grew up on the coast but left to work as a pastry chef at some of New York City's top restaurants. After finding much success in the big city, she returned home and started a business in 2014 - Cat Island Cookie & Cracker Company. The homegrown business, making specialty cookies and crackers has experienced impressive growth since opening in Pass Christian.
There is now a retail operation associated with the Pass Christian facility. Cat Island Cookie & Cracker Company is concentrating on the wholesale end of the business. They ship their product to grocery stores and gift shops.
I think we're going to try and saturate the southeast and southwest markets first. We have a strong foothold in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. We're in about ten stores in Texas and we're pushing more that way and from there move throughout the test of the country," Bullock said.
The company has an aggressive plan. They've set up a board of directors, they have investors on board and they're planning to move to a larger facility.
Their business model is driven by a desire to make preservative free products and they've created a niche in the market by making bite-sized cookies and crackers.
Cat Island Cookie & Cracker Company currently makes seven different cookies called sweet islanders, and two crackers under the name savory islanders. This South Mississippi company is doing one other unique thing by capitalizing on the name Cat Island.
"Our butter cookies come in the shapes of crabs, turtles, sail boats and shells," Bullock said.
Bullock has enjoyed watching the reception her product has received from customers.
"Just seeing people's reactions when they taste them for the first time. We do a demo and people turn around and come back and say wait a minute, that was really good. That's always good to see," according to Bullock.