Local business run by senior IC sells homemade cookies
Scattered across Tompkins County, at Greenstar, Ithaca Bakery, and the Trumansburg Farmers Market, are cookies perfectly wrapped with a purpose. Classic vshocolate vship to sRainbow dotted nickerdoodle galactic Fjudge, Via cookies line store shelves as passers-by do their daily groceries.
Starting out as a local business venture in a high school, Via’s Cookies is an independently managed cookie business owned and operated by Olivia Carpenter, senior at Ithaca College. Offering a wide range of cookies with traditional ingredients, Carpenter also specializes in vegan and gluten-free recipes. Carpenter has won multiple awards for its cookies and business plan, and currently sells both in stores around Ithaca and through its website. These cookies, which are available at $ 2 per individual cookie or on a case-by-case basis for bulk orders. In in addition to offering a varied range of flavors and ingredients, they or they are also sold with a purpose. Each month, Carpenter chooses a New York-based student raise funds for, highlighting them in a section of her website where she describes their journey and the cause of fundraising. Carpenter donates 5% of her proceeds to a different person each month, with a focus on Black, Indigenous, Colored (POC) and LGBTQ + students in need.
âInitially, I started to sell them [in high school]”Carpenter said.” I’ve actually been very successful. I’ve mastered the recipe. It’s something I’ve made myself perfect and people absolutely love it. They think these cookies are incredible.
Eventually, after selling cookies in her high school for a while, Carpenter said her school informed her that she would no longer be allowed to sell them on campus.
âI was so successful the school was like, ‘You can’t sell this here, you take away our sales,’â Carpenter said. âWe can say it really was, but I was also like the only black person in an all-white country school. Others still sold their little treats. But I wasn’t selling mine.
After this issue with the high school administrators, Carpenter said she found other ways to keep her business going.
“I took it beyond school, I sold to friends outside of school, I sold to my father’s client companies, I found success elsewhere,” said Carpenter. âYou know, nothing could stop me. And basically, I continued that until high school. People knew me for my cookies.
From its humble beginnings in Carpenter’s hometown, Via’s Cookies has evolved over time through major business competition on campus, “IC demo day. âA well-known event,â IC Demo Day âis hosted by the college’s School of Business to provide an open forum for any student to present a detailed business idea. Winners and finalists receive funding that goes directly into them. actual costs of running a business, like advertising or product material.After initially not planning to participate, Carpenter said a conversation with his sister discussing his vision of helping students is what encouraged her to enter the competition.
Carpenter has won several awards, including his initial proposal of $ 500, as well as the Crowd Choice Award and the Sustainability Award for a total of $ 985.
âIt’s one of the reasons I’m here at Ithaca College,â Carpenter said. âI’m here because I want to seek social justice, I want to change the world, I want to build the people around me because as a student of color I know the struggle. This is what I include in my pitch because it is the truth.
Carpenter’s donations have had a real impact on those both on and off campus. Amaechi Kofoworola was enrolled in the New School of New York from 2020 in early 2021. Kofoworola was a leading figure in the group of BIPOC students who raised concerns regarding a lack of financial support, and he left school after these concerns were largely ignored by the administration.
âI had to quit school due to the amount of racism and classism within the school that affected me and many black students,â Kofoworola said. âBasically, I had to compile and read over 50 to 60 messages from BIPOC students who had the same problems as me and I had to publish each one on my own. After that, the school really did nothing to provide any help or compensation.
Carpenter ended up raising $ 120 for Kofoworola in the spring of 2021, but he decided to share the donation with other students facing the same issues he was facing.
âThere were so many people who could have done more, who chose not to do more, and [Carpenter] done more and I really appreciate it, âKofoworola said.
Yahaira Tarr, senior at Lehman College, is highlighted under the âSupport a Friendâ tab on Via’s Cookies website. Tarr is a student, artist, and community organizer, who started a GoFundMe to support their college completion.
âI met Via when I was in second year at Ithaca College,â Tarr said. “Years later, after being transferred out of Ithaca for financial reasons, Via and I kept in touch on social media and Via offered to promote my GoFundMe with Via’s cookies.
After another month of sales, Carpenter raised $ 90 for Tarr, who is now able to spend that money on
the many expenses that accompany college studies.
âThis has been extremely helpful for my GoFundMe goal,â Tarr said. “It was nice to be recognized and supported.”
Ithaca College Senior Catriona Ferguson said she has known the company for some time now and customers keep coming back.
“I heard about Via’s cookies for the first time [Carpenter] herself, âFerguson said. “She’s on my scholarship and is a wonderful networker and businesswoman, so she knows how to get the word out.”
Ferguson said it’s both Carpenter’s cookies and his general attitude towards the company that intrigue people.
âMy experience with Via’s Cookies has always been positive,â Ferguson said. âShe is nice, easy to talk to and will always help customers and answer questions. His cookies are inexpensive and of incredible quality. I haven’t tried any of his cookies that I didn’t like. In addition, the company also supports BIPOC and LGBTQIA + students in need. I think her message and dedication to social justice draws people in, and the quality and delicious taste of the cookies is what keeps people coming back.
Lexi Danielson / Ithaca
Lexi Danielson / Ithaca