Cookie connoisseurs savor success with high-tech tools and a culture of kindness
- Doug and Sara Taylor spent their dating journey baking together. They never imagined it would turn into Taylor Chip, a multi-location cookie empire.
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Doug and Sara Taylor might sell drool-worthy, dense-yet-fluffy, magic-filled cookies, but Taylor Chip is much more than a Lancaster-born confectionery.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a local company,” Doug says. “We’ve thought of ourselves as an international corporation, and along with that I look at us as a tech company.”
Hacking traffic and building culture
When the couple opened their first location in the now-defunct Lancaster Marketplace in 2018, they noticed most shops had little organic foot traffic. Doug and Sara took a different approach to gathering customers: optimization of their website, online advertising, and supply chain systems.
The method paid off for their burgeoning bakery.
Doug’s high-tech approach got customers in the door and helped secure wholesale clients, but it couldn’t keep them coming back. That was Sara’s realm.
“It turns out Sara is really nice,” Doug says. “People came out of the woodwork to support her. That same niceness is what helped build our culture.”
“Culture is everything within the company,” Sara says.
For the love of grub
Sara and Doug’s love of cookies began long before they met. Doug grew up on discount snacks from the local Amish grocery outlet. With his first job at 14, he remembers spending most of his income on food. Any chocolate chip cookie he could find was a win.
When they met, Sara was appalled by Doug’s obsession with cheap trans-fat-laden cookies. The former farm girl insisted he at least needed to be using real butter.
Doug was not about to give up Crisco cookie ecstasy for butter-flattened cookie pucks.
The couple spent their dating relationship perfecting their cookie recipe. They brought together quality ingredients with delectable taste and texture.
A future in a CD case
After Doug popped the question, the couple gave themselves a $5,000 budget for their 2017 wedding. The only way to stay within budget was to make their own favors.
Doug had a recording studio at the time, so the couple baked dozens of CD-sized cookies and sealed them in CD cases for their guests to take home.
They came up with the name Taylor Chip to brand their wedding cookies and created a website and social media pages to go with it.
A year after the honeymoon, Sara felt the itch to escape an unhealthy work culture at the restaurant where she was working. She had no idea what was next, though. They couple had done a couple of Taylor Chip events but hadn’t taken the idea any further.
Then, the day before she planned to resign, the couple were asked if Taylor Chip could fill a vacant space at Lancaster Marketplace.
In August 2018, the couple opened their first Taylor Chip at the Lancaster Marketplace.
“People always ask us, When did you decide that now is the time? We’re just like, it was 100 percent the Lord,” says Sara, who says their faith plays a large role in her and Doug’s lives.
“Now, it definitely takes dedication and hard work and 100-hour work weeks,” she adds. “You have to be willing to commit, for sure.”
‘A vehicle to do good’
By the time the Marketplace closed in March 2021, Doug and Sara were ready to expand into two additional locations, in Lancaster and Intercourse. Then, in November 2022, they opened a third location, in Hershey. By the end of 2023, they aim to have an additional 10 locations in Pennsylvania before expanding across the U.S. and internationally.
Running a successful and growing business together has afforded the couple the opportunity to make an impact.
“Both me and Sara are very people-forward,” Doug says. “We very much like our faith a lot and so we just see the company as a vehicle to do good and continue to touch people and really put a smile on people’s face.”