Cheryl&Co., With its OU Certification, Strives to be the Best Gourmet Food and Gift Company, Ever

It was 1981, that our founder, Cheryl Krueger, with the help of her college roommate, Caryl Walker, started Cheryl&Co. It was her desire from the beginning to create the best gourmet food and gift company. We are pleased to say that what began as a single cookie store in Columbus, Ohio, has evolved into a multi-million dollar business. But, as successful as we’ve become, it is still our goal to focus on offering delicious, high-quality baked goods, unique gift ideas and outstanding customer service.

Armed with just $40,000, a business degree and seven years of retail industry experience, Cheryl opened the very first Cheryl’s Cookie store at a time when banks were nervous about lending to women-owned businesses.

Today, Cheryl&Co. is a multi-faceted business comprised of retail stores in Ohio, a growing Internet business and a busy Business Gift Division, all headquartered in the Columbus suburb of Westerville. The company is comprised of five divisions: Retail, Catalog, Foodservice, Business Gift Services and Internet, which can be found at CherylandCo.com. A 2005 merger enabled Cheryl&Co. to become a part of the 1-800-FLOWERS Family of Brands, while maintaining our company’s mission to be the best gourmet food and gift company, ever.

Our products have been featured on Rachael Ray, Ellen DeGeneres, CNN, Dr. Phil, the Today Show, QVC and the Food Network, along with multiple radio and print features across the country.

Our most famous product is our soft buttercream frosted cookies. We dominate in this category. Lots of companies produce hard iced cookies but, there is nothing like the soft buttercream frosting. Customers go out of their way to let us know how much they love this product. Today we make over 20 different varieties of these mouth-watering favorites from Buttercream Frosted Cinnamon Pumpkin (a pumpkin and spice cookie topped with cinnamon buttercream frosting) to Old Fashioned Holiday Cut-out Cookies topped with buttercream frosting and candy sprinkles. We have also perfected the sugar free buttercream frosted cut-out cookie this year. You have to try them to believe they are sugar free.

We are also excited to report that following a year of preparation and hard work, Cheryl & Co. converted to a kosher operation. All products baked at the Cheryl&Co. facility in Westerville are certified OU Dairy under the supervision of the Orthodox Union. Our products are dairy, kosher for year-round use, excluding Passover. We are in the process of updating all films related to our baked products to reflect the kosher symbol.

The production facility went through a purification process known as “kosherization.” A lot of cleaning, sterilization and using high temperatures to sanitize were used to obtain the designation “kosher.” We are proud to be an OU Kosher certified company, which is regarded as being in the top tier of strictness and quality.

“I started receiving calls from potential customers years ago when I first became Director of QA. These calls were to inquire if we were kosher,” says Sara Reed, Quality Assurance Director. “As the years passed; the inquiries increased and it even crossed over into our business gift area. I did my research and found out what kosher was all about. It backed up my theory. It was an additional way and opportunity for a quality check. In 2007, I was given permission to do due diligence to become kosher. It took us almost a year to meet all the requirements, but we became kosher in February 2008. OU is the most recognized kosher certification. It has increased our customer base. We are proud to say we are kosher and now advertise that fact in our catalogs, and our website.”

“From the moment ingredients come in our back door; there are quality checks,” Sara explains. “Not only do we have checks in our mixing process but also in our formation processes. Baking and cooling are the next part of the process. Each individual rack, tray and cookie is inspected for quality and weight before being individually packaged.”

Not surprisingly, Cheryl&Co. has received a SUPERIOR rating from the American Institute of Baking for 2008. This is a goal we have achieved for the past seven years. A lot of extra effort, long hours and hard work from our entire team made this happen. Every year the requirements get a little tougher and the Cheryl & Co. Quality Assurance Team makes sure the strict guidelines are being followed and enforced throughout the company. Not any easy task, but it does keep us on our toes making sure we are following FDA guidelines, food safety rules, good manufacturing practices, and most of all, live out our mission statement: To be the best gourmet food company, ever.

Thanks to loyal customers nationwide, Cheryl&Co. has the opportunity to give back. We have remained committed to supporting local food banks and educational organizations with our time and our hearts. We have also established partnerships with The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Komen Race for the Cure and The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation to name a few. We are honored to be a part of these outstanding organizations and have donated over one million dollars in support of their work. In addition, we have a range of philanthropic programs to serve a variety of needs.

All of us at Cheryl&Co. are very proud of our products and services. For over 28 years we have worked hard to provide the BEST and most innovative gifts and desserts to our customers. We will continue to strive for excellence with our ultimate goal being to be the best gourmet food and gift company, ever.

Cheryl&Co.’s website is http://www.CherylandCo.com.

Rabbi Yisroel Bendelstein serves as Orthodox Union rabbinic coordinator for Cheryl&Co.