At Aviator Cookie Company
, it’s all about fresh, scratch-made cookies with no added preservatives.
A staple 13 flavors are available daily at locations in Bay City and Midland, along with four rotating flavors. You’ll never find day-old cookies at their shops; each cookie sold is made fresh the same day it’s sold. Founded by an airline pilot, an actual airplane wing serves as its signature cookie counter.
Aviator Cookie Company owner Chris Welch. (Photo courtesy of Aviator Cookie Company)
How it began
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many changes for the community. For Chris Welch, it also brought a great opportunity. Welch, a full-time pilot for a major airline, was grounded for nine months early in the pandemic.
He had always dreamed of owning a business, so he spent his newfound free time to research opportunities. He put his MBA to use as he considered laundromats and mortgage lending. In the end, his children, Connor and Abby, inspired him to open a bakery.
“We were driving around town one day and my daughter said, ‘Daddy when I grow up, I want to own a cookie business.’ I thought, ‘Hmm… well, I make cookies.’”
Welch had developed a passion for baking when he was furloughed due to the events of 9/11.
“So, I put together business plan and did a competition analysis. I realized that nothing was like it in the area. I did some focus groups with my cookies and decided that’s the route I wanted to go. Originally, we were considering cookie delivery – so my son came up with the idea for the logo with the airplane ‘bombing’ cookies, so he was the inspiration behind the logo.”
And then the business took off
Since opening in the spring of 2021, Welch and his team have been overwhelmed by the community support. Initially, he thought the store would end up being a hobby bakery. After opening, it became immediately clear that it was much more than that.
Photo courtesy of Aviator Cookie Company
“I think I had planned on selling 150 cookies a day. That’s what I based my business plan on,” Welch says. And I think we were baking about 1,500 per day for the first month or so. And we stayed very busy. So much that it became viable to open a second location.”
The Bay City location
Located at 4072 Wilder Road in a plaza near the Bay City Town Center, the Bay City store is larger than the original location in Midland. Along with selling cookies in person and filling catering orders, Aviator Cookie has opened an online store and shipping operations from its Bay City location. With only word-of-mouth marketing, they have already shipped to 35 states.
Between the two shops, Welch now employs 16 folks. He has also expanded his recipe lineup. When he began the business, he had somewhere between 25 and 30 recipes. Now, Aviator Cookie trusts nearly 60 different recipes. Check out social media to see what fun creations is baking at the store.
Even with the expansion, the team holds true to its always-fresh commitment. Welch works hard to forecast daily estimates to right size each day’s inventory and minimize waste. Leftovers are donated to local shelters or used for marketing purposes.
Customers range from folks who come in and buy one cookie to those who pre-order dozens for businesses or events. Aviator Cookie offers business discounts to support local folks, too. Folks looking to place orders should check out the website
For Welch, welcoming the community is so important.
“We really want to make sure more people know we’re here. Come out and give us a try to see what the difference is in scratch-made, baked-fresh cookies.”