Stepping into Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies at 1050 Beecher Crossing North in Gahanna is a bit like stepping into a time capsule. Customers belly up to a boomerang counter at the bakery that’s a vintage mix of 50s and pinup girl.
Behind the counter is recipe mastermind Holly Schaffner. She used to be behind the desk. Schaffner grew up in the corporate world and earned a Master’s in public policy.
“I’ve always been a stress baker,” she says.
The more stressed she got at work, the more she would bake – much to the delight of friends, family and coworkers. Several cookies later, people started telling Schaffner, “You need to stop just giving these away and you need to sell them,” she says.
Schaffner thought who would buy my cookies? Anybody can make a cookie. However, she was reassured that nobody could make a cookie like this.
In 2014, Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies started appearing at farmers markets, weddings and corporate events, and in 2015 Schaffner traded stress baking for business making and quit her full-time job to pursue cookies.
In April of 2016, Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies graduated to the retro storefront.
“Gahanna is a good community; it’s very supportive,” Schaffner says.
She set up shop in an area close to home to support the community. The name comes from her husband’s nickname. Schaffner became Mrs. Turbo, and where Mrs. Turbo was there was generally an expectation of cookies. If there were no cookies, there were questions.
The pin-up style logo is Schaffner herself. She did the photoshoot a few years ago and it served as the inspiration around which the 50s theme was built.
“We bake like mom used to bake so we wanted to stay true to that,” she says.
That also means staying true to good, wholesome ingredients – unbleached whole grain flour, organic cold milled Flax, fresh eggs, organic butter, cream and buttermilk.
“We’re all-natural, no additives no preservatives,” Schaffner says. “We make everything on site from scratch every day. It comes out in the flavor and the texture of our cookies.”
Mrs. Turbo’s lineup includes cookies, cakes and brownies. Classics like chocolate chip and frosted sugar cookies are best sellers. Patrons can also wash their sweets down with coffee from Crimson Cup and pure cane sugar sodas.
Schaffner says she wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when opening the bakery, but has been pleased by the community’s response. She finds it a popular destination for date nights to after school snacks.
“People are really liking that we bake fresh every day multiple times a day so they can come in and get a hot cookie,” she says.
It has been a learning curve, though.
“How we run our storefront isn’t the same way as how we would do a farmers market or catering events,” she says.
Schaffner was expecting to be able to chat with every customer one-on-one like at a farmers market, but some customers are ready to pay for their cookies and get to eating.
Experience Columbus has also helped with learning the ins and outs of running a business.
Mrs. Turbo’s became a member of the organization just a few months after opening and Schaffner has been able to access Experience Columbus’ educational sessions on topics like social media and building an online presence through a business website.
Schaffner has been able to leverage those tools to bring customers through the door, hearing comments like ‘I found you on Instagram.’
The vast network of Experience Columbus has led to a multitude of other connections. A list of upcoming conventions means Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies can get in front of those groups of people and invite them to check out the bakery. A connection with the Columbus Young Professionals has already yielded one event with the potential for more.
The cookie cravers can still find Mrs. Turbo’s cookies at farmers markets and events like Moonlight Market and Grandview Hop. Or the cookies can come to you, with offerings for corporate events, weddings and parties.
As the storefront works towards wrapping up its first year Schaffner will start setting her sights towards expansion, and possibly a second location.
For more information, visit mrsturboscookies.com.
— Experience Columbus’ vision is to be the leading force in creating and revealing the best of the Columbus experience to the world. Experience Columbus’ mission is to sell, market and promote the Destination Columbus experience to visitors. —