New Recipe: Asmussen | Former Irina creates (cookie) recipes for success | Columns

Do you think it’s a busy day? Try creating 15,000-20,000 cookies.

This is an upcoming challenge for former University of Illinois football player Jeff Allen and his wife, former UI soccer player Marissa.

Jeff and Marissa are co-owners of The Cookie Society, based in Frisco, Texas. It’s a company with 27 employees … and growing.

“It’s an exercise. That’s our feeling,” Jeff said.

What is the secret to your success so far?

“Fostering a good environment,” Jeff said. “Being an athlete really helped us from that perspective. There are people in different places and different backgrounds in the changing room. One thing that keeps us on the same page is , We are all trying to reach the same goal. Everyone is fair to each other and everyone loves each other. We are all together. “

Marissa grew up in Dallas, so it makes sense to have her first store on the outskirts of Frisco. The couple lives with their daughter Joy (6) and son Jay (5).

A second store will open in nearby Addison, a city of 15,000.

The goal of the two UI alums is to one day set up a store in Champaign Urbana near the campus. Chicago (Jeff’s hometown) and Kansas City, Missouri are other targets.

“It’s a place we used to call home, near us, and an important place,” Jeff said.

Origin story

The 32-year-old Jeff has played for eight years in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans NFL, starting 66 games. Marissa, whom I met in Illinois, supported him at every stage.

So when Jeff’s football was over, it was time for him to help Marissa’s dream.

“This is her passion,” Jeff said.

After visiting Levan Bakery in New York, they decided to make it a business. The place was hopping for the cookie.

Jeff and Marissa thought, “We can do that.”

Family and friends praised Marissa’s cookie recipe.

“They told us they were great,” Jeff said.

Jeff’s favorite is banana pudding.

Most Popular Sellers: Of course, chocolate chips. Salted caramel is also popular.

Interesting debut

Technically, the Cookie Society opened in 2018. However, the first physical store opened in April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to occur. Not a good way.

The people at home wanted their delicious treat. And the Cookie Society,

Eighty flavors were ready to meet your needs.

“We were already in a position to do that,” Jeff said. “People weren’t out of the house, so we were able to meet them at their doors by shipping it to them.”

There is nothing better than cookies to relieve your stress. As far as you know.

The current menu, which changes monthly, contains the customer’s favorite voting results.

“We’re doing the classics really well, but there are some really fun and innovative things,” Jeff said.

Options during the holiday season include sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, and apple pie, and cookies include real pie crust.

Jeff is careful not to overeat.

“They are addictive,” he said. “They are really good cookies. I’m away from them, but it’s difficult.

“The moment you wake up, you have the opportunity to eat cookies.”

New challenge

Playing on the NFL’s aggressive lines is physically and mentally difficult.

Jeff is now alone with Marissa as his teammate.

“This is another difficult thing,” Jeff said. “In many ways, being an athlete prepares you to be an entrepreneur. It’s all about being knocked down and back.

“I know that being a soccer player has a team side, but most of the time I had to worry about myself. I did the job. As long as I knew the neighbors would do their job, and it would be together collectively. “

Now it’s with him and Marissa. And the people they hire.

“We need to make it work, and then we need to make sure we have a good team,” Jeff said. “We are both grateful to have an athletic background.”

Hands of help

Jeff and Marissa’s business … waits for it … was boosted early on by Oprah Winfrey.

In November 2020, Opla added The Cookie Society to its “Favorites” list. Orders have begun to flood.

“We place 150-200 orders a month, so we’re doing it in an hour,” Jeff said.

The Thanksgiving promotion continued when The Cookie Society was featured on CBS Sports and the segment was replayed on pre-Christmas “CBS Mornings.” It has reached many potential hungry customers.

“We received thousands of emails,” Jeff said. “A lot of phones. Sold out in a few hours. I had to turn it off just to manage my inventory so I could fill everything up before Christmas.”

There were other useful hits. The NBA Finals featured the Cookie Society in a commercial. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, has become a mentor.

Jeff’s former teammate is a big fan of the Cookie Society.

“Everyone: Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, my old college roommate,” Jeff said. “The support was great.

“These are the people who taste cookies,” he said, “this is the best cookie I have ever had.” “

For more information on Jeff and Marissa Allen’s ventures, check out the websites of the following companies:

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