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Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:22 pm

cookie shop roll in the dough

As the adage goes, be careful what you ask for, because you might get it.
Just ask Patrick Niles.
Niles and his wife, Patricia, opened a store that sells cookie cutters and other paraphernalia related to baking cookies in West Bend in 1998. In 2000, they decided to move their store to downtown Cedarburg to capitalize on the artsy tourist traffic in that city.
For two years, they’ve cultivated Downtown Dough, a humble, yet growing, small business in Cedarburg. The store sells more than 1,000 varieties of tin and copper cookie cutters, cookie dough, cookie decorations, cookie jars, cookie baking utensils, frozen breads, rolls and other baked items, and all other things cookie and baking-related.
Downtown Dough sells cookie cutters that create cookies of virtually any shape, ranging from animals to snowflakes, dog bones, toothbrushes, states and other shapes that would be appropriate for special occasions.
In May, Niles read an article about cookie cutters in Good Housekeeping magazine. On a whim, he sent a letter to one of the magazine’s editors, making her aware of his business.
The editor replied, and Niles sent her some samples of his store’s cookie cutters.
And after making sure that Downtown Dough’s Web site ( could handle the traffic she knew would follow, the editor assigned a staff member to bake some cookies with the Niles’ cutters, and the cookies were featured on the cover of Good Housekeeping’s December issue.
An article inside the magazine refers readers to Downtown Dough and its Web site. The magazine first hit the New York, the Southwest and the international markets earlier this month.
"Our Web site got 47,000 hits, and I got 1,000 orders in 10 days," Niles said. "Overwhelming would be the word for it."
Such an unusual crush of business right before the holidays has posed some logistical challenges for Niles, his wife Patricia, and their two employees.
"We’re working real hard with our vendors to get more product in here. You get to know your Fed X and UPS guys real well," Niles said.
Orders have come from as far away as Israel and Hong Kong. The orders come by telephone and through the store’s Web site.
And there’s no end to the madness in sight. The December issue of Good Housekeeping hits the Wisconsin market this month, and that should spark even more foot traffic into the Niles’ store.
Niles, who is 54, has no intentions of expanding or opening additional stores. However, he knows a cash cow when he sees one.
"I’ve been thinking about retirement, but this has changed my ideas about how I want to market," he said. "We’ve had a couple of ideas with our franchising attorneys. We’ve got about 30 names of people across the country."
Niles, who is a brother of Small Business Times editor David Niles, has a strong background in the retail industry, mostly selling high-tech electronic consumer goods.
Little did he know that his deliverance would come in the form of a low-tech tin cookie cutter.

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