One smart cookie! Retiree finds sweet second career

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --  Francis Nelson Beebe knows a good cookie when he bakes one. This avid artisan baker and chef has been perfecting the art of the chocolate chip cookie for years. Now, he has parlayed his passion into an entrepreneurial endeavor: "Mr. Nelson's Cookies! "

He reinvented his life after retirement and is now open for business in Gold Canyon. He also creates decadent ice cream shakes and sundaes using his chocolate chip cookies.

Beebe's business model is simple: he's a one-man cookie-baking band who is dedicated to small-batch chocolate chip cookie making. He bakes Monday through Thursday, packing and shipping 288 (24 dozen) cookies per day.

He says a couple of things go into baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie. "One is superior ingredients," he says. "Anything that you do, you have to have good ingredients. Two, I believe that I've created a baking and a mixing process that's proprietary. When you bring things together that are already perfect, it makes them even more perfect."

His retail model is an online ordering system only and cookies are baked, wrapped and shipped with next-day delivery in Arizona one- or two-day delivery across the Southwest.  Mr. Nelson's Cookies are packaged in a custom, hand-made box in six or 12 cookie quantities and are priced at $5 each for a quarter pound cookie.

"90 percent of all consumers in the US like cookies and 66 percent of these cookie fans are buying chocolate chip. I wanted to keep my model simple. I'm the only employee and plan to stay that way," said Beebe.

Beebe retired 12 years ago from a successful career in sales, marketing and logistics working for Procter & Gamble. His foray into baking was initially spawned after he earned his Culinary Arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu's program a few years ago.

"I knew I could create a company from my passion for food; the key was to find a product with a loyal following so I set out to create the world's most perfect chocolate chip cookie," said Beebe.

Beyond his online cookie orders, Beebe offers limited "Mr. Nelson's Experiences" in which on a selective basis, he will bake cookies in-home or at special events like weddings, anniversary parties and other private and unique functions.

Mr. Nelson's Cookies
6900 US Highway 60, Suite 112
Gold Canyon, AZ