Just over eight years ago in the heart of Victoria, B.C., Melinda Cownden began baking in her home kitchen. In 2003, she was given a biscotti recipe from a friend. After changing a few things about the recipe and making it her own, it wasn’t until Melinda brought her cookies to some friends at work that she received such great feedback about the amazing flavour. It turned out that her modest cookie recipe would soon become something huge.
Before she knew it, word got out that Melinda was baking these delicious treats. Pretty soon, family and friends began to ask for buckets full of her biscotti. For $20.00, she would sell you an ice cream pale full of biscotti. When Melinda began to see herself making a little bit of a profit, she began to see big things for the future of her little cookie business. In 2005, Melinda started to make a name for herself. With big ambitions to take her kids to Disneyland some day, Melinda took her biscotti into a local coffee shop. With no Food Safe Certification, no post-secondary education and no idea what she was doing, the shop owner laughed. He told her that he wouldn’t sell her biscotti in his store right now, but he did guide Melinda towards the right direction.
Soon enough, Melinda found herself face to face with a man working at VIHA (Vancouver Island Health Authority), who told her a few words that she would never forget. The man looked Melinda in the face and said, “There’s no way you will ever be able to do this.”
Maybe it was the doubt in his voice, but after that day, the fire in Melinda sparked. She knew that big things could happen to her biscotti, she was just waiting for this exact motivation to make her realize what she needed to do.
Now, after deciding to name her business Melinda’s Biscotti, owning her own store front and selling just over 900, 000 cookies, Melinda says her success came out of no where. “I don’t know how I got here, says Melinda, but I did it. I am in financial freedom.”
Melinda’s Biscotti are carried in hundreds of small local cafés along Vancouver Island. Huge food distribution companies such as Sysco Foods and Snow Cap are ongoing costumers of Melinda’s Biscotti, and she says she has lost count of how many Thrifty Food stores are carrying her cookies.
Happily tucked into a cozy café in Sydney, B.C, with the help of her family and close business partner Allen, Melinda is now located in a building that allows her to bake all of her biscotti in the back, and sell them with a cup of espresso in the front. This huge bakery is also where she makes and distributes all of her biscotti to the main buyers. She is currently filling four warehouses in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Starting with nothing but a great biscotti recipe and a huge heart, Melinda says she has learnt so much through this incredible journey. She really enjoys what she does each and every day, and for Melinda, she says the best part about her job is seeing the smiles on her costumer’s faces. “One thing you will find at our café that you won’t find anywhere else is our incredible personalities. We are all so friendly here and it is so important to see our costumers smiling and laughing with us.”
Melinda’s most popular flavours of biscotti are: Almond, Gingersnap, Lemon Cranberry, Chocolate and Espresso Almond. Melinda’s Biscotti business is growing and trying new flavours each and every day. Her newest fast selling recipe is her yummy Vanilla and Candy Cane flavoured Meringues.
“Maybe now I can take my kids to Disneyland”, says Melinda as she laughs, “I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”