Forever Young business owner Betty Hazlett knows all about stick-to-itiveness. In February 2020, she took over ownership of her children’s clothing and accessories resale store, located at 1101 Main Street in Great Bend. A month later, she had to navigate a statewide COVID pandemic shutdown that resulted in a 2 1/2 month closure. But she pressed on and despite the early-going challenges, her business is doing well today.
She bakes cookies with the same determination, persevering through challenges. During the annual Great Bend Cookie Contest the previous two years, she finished in the top three, but never won the top prize. That all changed two weeks ago when she prevailed as Great Bend Cookie Contest Champion!
“This is my third cookie contest and I’ve come close to winning the previous two years,” said Hazlett. “I used to be a daycare provider. I’ve made so many cookies that I’ve gotten pretty good at baking them. You have to learn as you go; figure out what you like, before choosing the cookie you want to bake in large batches.”
The day before the contest, Hazlett and her crew of bakers - Rachelle Hapes, Betty Ibarra, and Tara Hazlett – spent six hours baking their eventual winning cookies. Hazlett decided on a mini cheesecake cookie with cream cheese and two options of blueberry or cherry filling. Forever Young won the contest with 42 votes, followed by Great Bend Coffee with 27 votes, and RePerks Coffee Shop took third with 22 votes.
Voting took place during the 14th Annual Great Bend Cookie Contest, which was held Nov. 26 in downtown Great Bend. In what has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition, 250 cookie judges donated at least $5 for a cookie bracelet, which allowed them to visit 15 Great Bend businesses and taste cookies before voting on their favorite one. For the third consecutive year, 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 with additional donations resulted in a record amount of $1,380 that has been donated to the Food Bank. That’s $50 more than the previous record set two years ago.
Businesses participating in this year’s Great Bend Cookie Contest, besides Forever Young, were Rosewood Furniture Gallery (Cookie Headquarters); That Hipster Place; Kustom Floor Designs; Buckle; Great Bend Coffee; Bling; Creative & Unique Craft Fair; Rosewood Bargain Barn; A440 Musical Instruments; Heart of Kansas/Ms. Pretty Pickles; RePerks Coffee Shop; The Wright Place; Rosewood Wine Cellar; and Rana Luna Boutique.
As part of the activities wrapped into Small Business Saturday and the Home for the Holidays Festival, 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.
By winning this year, Forever Young unseated A440 Musical Instruments, which had been crowned Great Bend Cookie Champion five of the previous six years.
“Forever Young did a great job in winning this year’s Great Bend Cookie Contest, but really all participating stores are winners,” said Anna Hammond, business development director for Rosewood Services. “Droves of people were in downtown Great Bend during small business Saturday. As retailers, we can’t ask for better opportunity than that. Thank you to all the participating businesses and to all the cookie judges who came out to make this another successful post-Thanksgiving event in our community. By participating, you helped us provide more than $1,300 toward feeding people in need this holiday season.”
For more information, contact Anna Hammond, Rosewood Services, 620-793-5888
December 9, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Story by: Michael Dawes, PR director, Rosewood Services, 620-792-2536, MichaelD@rosewoodservices.com