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More Than $1,300 Raised for Food Bank
What do you do if your business has won bragging rights as Great Bend’s Cookie Champion five of the past six years? If you are A440 Musical Instruments, you make miniature copies of your certificates, then frame each one in a championship belt and hang it on the wall. It is quirky fun to commemorate the light-hearted dynasty that is being established by the downtown Great Bend business. For the fifth time in six years, A440 has taken the crown as the Great Bend Cookie Contest champion.
“Next year, our goal is to match (Michael) Jordan,” exclaimed A440 manager Lyle Jones referencing the basketball legend. “He has six rings, so we want six championships, too. We think we have the best customer service in town, but that’s still not the thing we do best. The thing we do best is cookies.”
The 13th Annual Great Bend Cookie Contest was held Nov. 27, in conjunction with Small Business Saturday. In what has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition, 250 cookie judges donated at least $5 for a cookie bracelet, which allowed them to visit 20 Great Bend businesses and taste cookies before voting on their favorite one. Cookie bracelets were sold out in an hour with all of the collected proceeds going to the Community Food Bank of Barton County to help feed those in need during the holiday season and beyond. The maximum number of participants meant a near-record amount of $1,310 was donated to the Food Bank, just $20 shy of last year’s record amount when the contest achieved maximum participation as well.
A440’s first win happened in 2016 when it tied with Renue Salon for the cookie crown. Then it rattled off two more consecutive victories in 2017 and 2018, before being unseated by Sweet Dreams Candy Shop in 2019. This year, A440 stayed just ahead of Forever Young Kids Resale and Rana Luna Boutique. In 2020, the music store narrowly defeated Forever Young and Sweet Dreams Candy Shop.
A440 won this year’s contest by serving a Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Surprise Cookie. The cookies were baked by store co-owners Kim and Dan Heath, along with their son, Quinton, who is the cookie recipe decision-maker for the crew each year.
“This one was our best cookie, I believe,” said Jones. “The key this year was keeping our caramel element soft inside and not too chewy. We took them out of the oven while they were still gooey and let them crisp from the air and that maintained the softness of the caramel. Last year’s win was more special because we lost in 2019, so coming back and winning in 2020 felt really good. But this one, I think, was by far our best cookie. I think we would have beat ourselves any other year with this year’s cookie.”
One area where the music store improved over previous years was in sales during this year’s contest. Jones said typically customers tend to make smaller purchases on Cookie Contest Saturday, but several large purchases were made this year on that day.
“That added to the chaos, but it was great to have so many people in the store and have such a great day of sales, too,” said Jones.
Businesses participating in this year’s Great Bend Cookie Contest besides A440 were Rosewood Furniture Gallery (Cookie Headquarters); Kustom Floor Designs; Renue Salon, Spa & Fashion Boutique; He Brews & She Serves Beverage Bar; Buckle; Great Bend Coffee; Bling; Rosewood Bargain Barn; Dilly & Doc Creative Studio; Forever Young (Kids Resale); Heart of Kansas/Ms. Pretty Pickles; RePerks Coffee Shop; Just Say It Though; Mr. Olsen’s Natural Solutions; The Wright Place; Rosewood Wine Cellar; Rana Luna Boutique; That Hipster Place/BBE Signs; and 10th Avenue Boutique.
As part of the festivities, cookie contest businesses also donated prizes, which were awarded to cookie contest participants that evening during a drawing, following the “Home For The Holidays” Parade.
“It’s wonderful that A440 continues to have so much fun with this contest,” said Great Bend Cookie Contest organizer and Rosewood Business Development Director Anna Hammond. “We’re appreciative of all the businesses that take the time to bake delicious cookies and participate. It really draws a crowd to stores and truly makes a difference for our community food bank during a much-needed time.”
As for defending champs A440, Jones said the store plans to defend its Cookie Contest championship next year. In the meantime, he said store employees are looking for an interesting way to savor this year’s victory. They’ve already decided there will be no belt this year. Instead …
“We’re making a crown to fit under the belts and we’ll place a chair underneath it for Quinton to sit on his throne,” said Jones.
For more information, contact Anna Hammond, Rosewood Services, 620-793-5888
December 1, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Story by: Michael Dawes, PR director, Rosewood Services, 620-792-2536, MichaelD@rosewoodservices.com