By Lee Hubbard
As a struggling college student at San Francisco State University, Anthony Lucas looked for various ways to make money. One of the ways he did this was by baking and selling cookies at the urging of one of his friends.
“I started making cookies and selling them to people I knew and I started getting a response from them,” said Lucas.
The response to his cookies would grow early and he began selling cookies in barbershops, beauty shops and out of the trunk of his car. He would take orders from people about his cookies, becoming a traveling salesman.
“I was doing business and all over. From San Francisco, to Benicia to Walnut Creek,” continued Lucas. “I had people calling me for cookies all over.”
As the demand grew, he began making cookies for company parties and events. Ten years from when he started making cookies, he opened up a storefront in February of 2009 at 1417 Valencia Street in San Francisco. Since “Anthony’s Cookies” opening, his cookie eatery has taken off and it has become one of the hottest gourmet cookie places in San Francisco and the bay area.
The eatery has been featured in magazines such as San Francisco and 7×7 and it’s become the trendy place for a sweet snack. On most day’s lines stretching from the cash register to the door can be seen at “Anthony’s Cookies.” Patrons of all stripes and backgrounds jump on the 14 different types of cookies made at the shop.
The flavors of his cookies range from the traditional semi-sweet chocolate chip, walnut chocolate chip, cinnamon sugar, oatmeal with raisins, white chocolate, to untraditional flavors such as cookies and cream, banana, banana walnut, toffee chip and vegan cookies.
One of the keys to his early success is the quality control that goes into the cookies. Lucas uses organic ingredients, they are baked fresh every 30 minutes and the cookie prices are very affordable. Prices range from 95 cents a cookie, to $5 for a half dozen and $9 for a dozen. Sales at the store average around 2,000 cookies a day and Lucas’s store has grown from a one-man operation to employing 6 workers.
While Wallace “Wally” Amos was a pioneer in the cookie industry with his “Famous Amos” brand, which is in supermarkets markets nationally, Lucas says he found inspiration for his cookie business from two unlikely figures. Howard Schultz, the founder of the Starbucks coffee company and the rapper Jay Z, a hip hop entertainer and founder of Rockafella records.
“Schultz book, ‘Put your heart into it’ helped show the challenges of getting a business started. I saw myself going through some of this,” continued Lucas. “While Jay-Z is a guy who came from nothing, out of the Marci Projects in Brooklyn. He had confidence in himself. He knew he was going to make it in hip hop, when others said he couldn’t.”
“Ultimately, my goal is have ‘Anthony’s Cookies’ as the number 1 retail cookie outlet in San Francisco and the San Francisco bay area,” said Lucas.
The way people line up at his store, Lucas is very well on his way.
Anthony’s Cookies is located at 1417 Valencia Street, San Francisco. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 pm. Sunday’s from 11 a.m. to 5 pm. For more information call 415-655-9834 or go http://www.anthonyscookies.com