Member Spotlight: Vermont Moonlight Cookies
Our VSFA Member Spotlight features a member each month highlighting their business, products and experience in the industry. For this spotlight we asked Vermont Moonlight Cookies a series of questions.
Answers provided by: Barbara Bacchi, Owner, Vermont Moonlight Cookies
Q. Tell us a little bit about your company’s background and what you produce.
A. Vermont Moonlight Cookies arrived in 2003 when the magazine publisher where I worked was purchased by a Georgia company and the employees were let go. While job hunting, I watched a lot of Food Network and was inspired by a show called Food Finds that traveled the country highlighting small companies producing unique foods. I decided to turn my love of baking cookies into one of those companies. I took a couple of UVM courses to learn how to start a food venture. I knew I wanted to showcase Vermont with my cookies, so my first creation was my maple shortbread maple leaf. From there I followed up with other Vermont-themed cookies, always trying to incorporate as many Vermont ingredients as possible.
Q. What do you find most rewarding about working at a Vermont company?
A. Vermont has a certain mystique about it, and I believe people outside the state feel that its products, especially food products, are of a high quality, and I try my best to validate that by the ingredients I use and the packaging that reflects Vermont.
Q. What is your proudest accomplishment as a business owner?
A. I believe it’s my high standards in producing a product that not only presents well, but also contains as many high quality local ingredients as possible, without additives.
Q. How has COVID-19 changed your approach to business?
A. I was forced by COVID-19 to close my bakery in March of 2020. I couldn’t keep renting, not knowing how long the pandemic might last. I was also wary of coming in contact with people since not much was known about it at that time. So after a few months of pondering whether I should shut down the business, I applied for and received my town permit to operate as a home occupation. I had to downsize because of space so I no longer have large wholesale accounts like co-ops throughout the state. I have a few small accounts, but my marketing manager/daughter keeps the company alive and well with my online presence through social media and email marketing.
Q. Why did you choose to become a member of the VSFA? How have you benefited from being a VSFA member?
A. While taking my UVM courses, I came upon literature about VSFA there. I decided to check into it and found it to be very helpful to me as a startup and throughout the years. I’ve benefited in numerous ways. When I started, I sought and received guidance from board members. I’ve met many wonderful entrepreneurs and I contact them whenever I have a business question, like shipping advice and other organizational challenges. I was even given a chocolate tempering lesson by a chocolatier. I can broadcast email questions or call a fellow member or the office staff. I’ve also learned a lot from presentations at annual meetings.
Q. What do you most enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have a hobby/favorite pastime?
A. This may seem strange since I bake for a living, but I enjoy baking for my family – or should I say using them as “testers” as I try different recipes with my spin on them. I like to walk as my 73-year-old legs will no longer allow me to run (even as slow as I did). I also enjoy crossword puzzles (in large print).
Learn more about Vermont Moonlight Cookies' products and history by visiting their website: vermontmoonlightcookies.com