Welcome back to another installment of Chicago Sweet Treats’ “Sweetheart of the Week!
This week we have Johnathon Bush, founder of Not Just Cookies.
Bush started Not Just Cookies when he was just thirteen years old. Not Just Cookies is a bakery that offers high quality desserts using natural ingredients. Their menu includes a variety of cookies and pies including gluten free and vegan treats, rich in taste.
Bush’s famous turtle cookie is his bestseller, and he sat down with Chicago Sweet Treats to talk about his passion for desserts, running a small business, and what his favorite sweet treat is.
What made you want to start Not Just Cookies at just 13 years old?
I started Not Just Cookies because of my love for desserts/baked goods and my passion for business. At 13 years old it was hard getting a job so I decided start a business of my own!
How do you source your natural ingredients for the cookies and desserts?
I source my ingredients by being very cognizant with suppliers and brands to make sure all my ingredients are natural. It was difficult at first sourcing natural ingredients because ingredients that I thought were natural weren’t always. But after lots of education we are very strict on what ingredients we use, keeping our commitment of natural desserts to customers. This year I attended Expo West, the largest natural food/product expo in the country. Expos like these help increase your knowledge in this industry and expose to you even more natural products.
Why did you decide to start making vegan and gluten-free options?
There are so many people now that have dietary restrictions and we want everyone to have the option to enjoy GREAT tasting desserts. So we decided to launch a vegan and gluten free line. A lot of people have dietary restrictions for their own personal development, but there are so many people with celiac and dairy allergies that prevent them from enjoying dairy and gluten.
What is your favorite sweet treat?
I love so many types of desserts. I think it’s between cheesecake and lemon pie! My favorite cookie however is our Turtle Cookies!
What does being an certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) mean to you?
Being a certified MBE is a great take way to have pride in being a minority owned company. It also allows other companies to showcase their supplier diversity by doing business and other MBE’s.
Why do you think the Turtle Cookie is your most popular item? What else do people seem to enjoy?
Our turtle cookie is our best cookie! It’s my original recipe and award winning! I think people love the cookie so much because it’s unique and you really can’t find a cookie like our “turtle cookie” anywhere on the market! Many people have never had a turtle cookie until they visit us!
What do you offer besides cookies?
We also offer pies including our delicious “sweet potato pie!” We make bars, brownies and other breads too.
Where do you hope to take Not Just cookies in the future?
I want to expand my company nationally by having our cookie line in retailers nationwide. I also what to expand our wholesale business obtaining more businesses to use our cookies as gifts and for the events and trade shows. We’re very excited to open up our storefront in the South Loop next month! Also, we have these amazing mini cookies that are only $10 that doctors and businesses can send which is a great way to say thank you to their customers!
Chicago customers can visit Not Just Cookies in the Daley Center Pedway 50 W. Washington Blvd, Lower Level downtown Chicago on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8AM-4PM. Not Just Cookies is opening a location in Chicago’s South loop next month in November at 901 S Plymouth Ct. Chicago, IL 60605. Though customers cannot pick up cookies at this location they bake in Romeoville 15523 S Weber Rd., Ste 112.
Have the sweetest day!