The lingering taste of utter sweetness and the unspoken desire for just one more bite is a cookie phenomenon everyone can relate to. For the happily married Jeff and Heather Flathau, the love for cookies extends past the mere idea of personal enjoyment, they want to share their passion for delish treats with everyone.
How it All Began
The journey began in 1992 for the Flathau’s when they first began catering operations at Simply Southern Foods and The Mississippi Gourmet in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. As their business grew, the Flathau’s realized they had an emerging demand from their clients for specialty foods. So what better to do then pull out an old family recipe for a special cheese straw treat? The cheese straws became an overnight hit and the Flathau’s then baked up a macadamia white chocolate cookie as an accompaniment.
Flathau’s Fine Foods was founded in 2002. To launch their new business, Jeff decided they needed to tackle the most traditional treat you could think of, the shortbread cookie. At first, Jeff tried to replicate a shortbread cookie his grandmother used to make, which came with moderate success. It was then his wife, Heather stepped in to take the reins, turning the kitchen into a science lab for baking. Knowing his wife had no formal food training, Jeff jokingly advised her, “Don’t burn the house down.”
Success in the Making
With Heather’s hard work and determined spirit, the first of Flathau’s Fine Foods cookies, Peppermint Snaps (an unusual tasty mixture of peppermint candy and cookie) went into production. Jeff proudly remarks, “Our product was developed by my wife. There is no other shortbread cookie like it on the market.” With a hit on their hands and Heather churning out more flavors than one could count, the Flathau’s realized they needed packaging for their product. Heather found a local graphic artist to help with branding. It was during this process that they decided they wanted to package the cookies in fun unique food grade paint cans in gallon and liter sizes. The Cary Company was the first place the Flathau’s bought their metal paint cans from before they transitioned to clear art-style paint cans and cartons.
As Heather continued to churn out more hits from Key Lime flavors to branching out with the Chedder Chipotle Cheese Straw, she took charge of operations that entailed recipe testing to product development. Jeff on the other hand, focused on the financials, advertising, and other special projects at Flathau’s Fine Foods.
Flathau’s Fine Foods at a Store Near You
Heather and Jeff’s great tag teaming ability has helped Flathau’s Fine Foods expand through the years. The cookies are now available in cans, cartons, and cannistors. Flathau’s Fine Foods was also featured in Food Network’s Unwrapped, a television program about the origins of popular foods from around the country. Their product can be found in many stores across the United States, from major department stores, catalog companies, resorts, gift shops, and more. They are also available online at Flathau’s Fine Foods, Amazon, Overstock.com, and Sam’s Club.
Flathau’s Fine Foods continues to develop new gourmet products and expand their export business. They have already taken their business abroad, selling in international markets in Canada, Europe, Chile, China, and many more. The company is currently promoting their All Natural Cheese Straws that are available in cartons and cans.
So has success dampened Flathau’s Fine Foods? The Flathau’s are still as hardworking as they ever were, if not more so now. Jeff shares that their daily mission statement is still relevant. He notes that “creating the greatest cookies in the world through superior quality, excellent pricing and valued customer service” is always their top priority.
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