Lost Creek neighborhood resident Melissa Blue said she had been making her husband’s family cookie recipe for years when she became aware of gluten-free diets and discovered her cookies were a perfect fit for that market.
“My niece started eating gluten-free, and I realized these cookies were naturally gluten-free,” Blue said. “I would just pull them out of the freezer, and I realized that it would be easy to share with others.”
Inspired by her niece’s hunt for gluten-free items, Blue turned to her lifelong friend, Melissa Mehall, in Fort Worth. The two started producing Meli’s Monster Cookies in 2013 and were carried by local small grocery stores such as Royal Blue Grocery in Austin.
“[Blue] called me and told me she was thinking about [starting the business],” Mehall said. “I thought it was great, so when she called later and said she needed a partner, I jumped in.”
Co-owners Blue and Mehall said they handle the accounts, orders and “everything else” about running a business, and the cookies are produced in Fredericksburg and shipped from there.
Blue said the company first started getting the cookies in grocery stores by driving samples to the stores.
“Our cookies thankfully sell themselves,” she said.
Although at first the company distributed the cookies to smaller stores and local chains in Austin and Fort Worth, the product has since spread to major statewide companies such as H-E-B and Central Market.
After tasting the cookies at the 2015 New York Food Show, Wal-Mart began offering Meli’s Monster Cookies in its stores throughout Texas in May.
“We’ll be back at the [New York] food show this year, and we’ll see what happens,” Blue said.
Calling herself “an entrepreneur at heart,” Blue said her cookies are not only gluten-free, but also unique.
“It’s a better cookie,” Mehall said. “It’s still a cookie, but the first two ingredients are oats and peanut butter instead of flour and sugar.”
Monster cookies are not larger cookies, but are made from several ingredients, Blue said.
The company offers two flavors: The Original features peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms and peanut butter M&Ms; and the Chocolot features chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. The Perfectly Peanutty flavor was recently discontinued, though Blue said the business will be offering a new flavor soon featuring cashews. The company makes about 25,000-30,000 cookies each month, Blue said.
The cookies are already baked and can be stored in a freezer, so consumers can choose the number of cookies they want and let them thaw without having to bake an entire batch of cookies.
With Mehall in Fort Worth and Blue in the Austin area, the pair has access to two major metropolitan areas in the state. Both are University of Texas graduates with degrees in business, but Blue credits her success to the West Austin community.
“It’s such a dynamic area,” Blue said. “A lot of people are starting companies in the food business.”
She said she was able to reach out to people in her area who helped mentor her as she started her company.
“We started out very grass-roots with just getting samples out there,” she said. “I’m very appreciative of this community.”
Sold in Wal-Mart, H-E-B, Central Market and Royal Blue Grocery