Cookies by Bess’ 60th Anniversary!
It dawned on me a couple months ago that the year 2020 is Cookies by Bess’ 60th Anniversary! What an amazing milestone! The Hoffman family has been baking Cookies by Bess’ cookies for 60 years! WOW! Congratulations to us! ?
To honor this major cookie baking milestone, I have pulled together some images from the Cookies by Bess archives to provide a glimpse of all the hard work, fun, and sweetness that went in to making Cookies by Bess a family tradition for my family over the last 60 years.
I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane…
Grandpa Abe was Bess’ biggest fan and supporter on the journey they were about to begin. Grandpa Abe took pictures, kept diaries of their travels, and was at Bess’ side at every event over the 25 years they promoted Cookies by Bess. Married 60 years, Grandma Bess and Grandpa Abe were partners every step of the way.
The original Cookies by Bess cookie book published in 1960 after family and friends encouraged my Grandma Bess to put all her cookies recipes together into a recipe book.
A huge grass roots marketing effort was launched by Bess herself. Here you see Bess displaying her home baked cookies at Winkleman’s Department Store in Wausau, WI.
Winkleman’s, where Grandpa Abe worked, was a huge supporter of Bess and her cookie book. Below is just a sampling of newspaper ads from the early 1960’s promoting Cookies by Bess and Grandma Bess in person to sign copies of her cookie book.
These newspaper clippings are from one of the scrap books Grandpa Abe kept to memorialize all of Cookies by Bess and Grandma Bess’ achievements. Grandpa Abe was Bess’ biggest supporter and fan. I feel so lucky my father (Rich Hoffman), like his father, collects and keeps memories filed away.
Cookies by Bess was also featured in the Maid of Scandinavia catalogs. Maid of Scandinavia, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a 1960’s catalog which supplied new and unusual homemaking baking & gifts.
Grandma Bess received many letters from bakers all over the state. Some letters were for ordering cookie books, some just to thank Bess for her wonderful recipes, and some send recipes for Bess to try.
Grandma Bess even appeared on local TV talk shows way back then to share her cookie recipes and her tips and tricks for baking cookies, cakes, and other cooking traditions.
Cookies by Bess sold over 40,000 cookies books in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s, Grandma Bess and Grandpa Abe were ready to retire from Wausau to Los Angeles. Little did they know, they weren’t going to rest and relax for too long!
Fast forward new to 1980…Cookies by Bess is revitalized and republished.
The torch was passed to Rich and Toby Hoffman, Bess and Abe’s son and daughter-in-law.
To help republish Cookies by Bess and develop a marketing plan to relaunch the brand, Rich and Toby hired Mary Beth Kiester, a food contributor from Milwaukee, WI. Mary Beth helped to develop the new Cookies by Bess logo and set up a whirlwind tour all around Wisconsin and California to promote the newly updated cookie book.
Mary Beth help design the new Cookies by Bess cover at one of the photo shoots. Bess loved to package her cookies in small candy boxes. As these boxes were opened and waiting to be photographed, Mary Beth arranged the boxes into the cookie mosaic you see on the 1980 Cookies by Bess cookie book. Such a wonderful collage of colors and cookies!
Here are a few pictures from the Cookies by Bess photo shoot. Super fun and look at all those beautiful cookies!
Displaying cookies on china hand painted by my Great Aunt Etta. My mother (Toby’s) mother’s sister.
An example of a wonderful assortment of Cookies by Bess cookies, along side branded stationary. All correspondence about Cookies by Bess was done by letters, so having formal stationary was important!
These are the actual boxes Grandma stored her cookies in when freezing and traveling for promotional engagements.
Such a beautiful picture of Cookies by Bess’ Pinwheel cookies.
This is a picture of Grandma Bess in our kitchen in Appleton, WI. The cookies shown are June’s Cream Cheese Jam Pockets.
Once all the promotional pieces were finalized and the cookie books were printed, Bess left on a promotional tour that took her all around the mid-west and California.
One stop was on the Merv Griffin show…
Bess also appeared with Regis Philbin on his morning talk show…
I also found pictures of Bess with James Darren…
And Paul Moya…
Bess was also a guest on many local TV and radio talk shows.
In addition to all the celebrity TV and radio shows, Bess also had huge grass roots effort going with bookstore displays and cookie book signing events.
Bess was kept busy throughout all of 1980 and 1981, appearing on many local talk and radio shows. By the end of the year, both Bess and Abe were glad to be back home to rest and relax.
Over the years since Grandma Bess and Grandpa Abe passed away, Cookies by Bess has been kept a live and well in the Hoffman family. Baking Grandma Bess’ favorite cookie recipes was a tradition that never went away.
And here we are in 2020…Cookies by Bess has again been revitalized by me (Janet, Granddaughter of Bess and Abe) along with the help of my parents (Rich and Toby). Cookies by Bess is now a cookie blog, sharing all of Grandma Bess’ recipes with all cookie lovers.
Our tag line _”Good homemade cookies never go out of style”…is at the heart of our desire to share Bess’ baking traditions with everyone!
It is my hope that everyone visiting our website finds a cookie recipe they loved from their childhood, or finds a new cookie recipe they’ve never tried before but has now become a favorite. Baking has become a passion of mine…for me, it’s a wonderful way to bring friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and everyone else together. After all, “Good homemade cookies never go out of style”!
Here’s to another 60 years to come of Cookies by Bess!