Since a young girl, Keena Woods has always loved the art and skill behind baking.
From a very young age, Woods was taught by her aunt how to prep and bake Christmas cookies that led to a yearly tradition that she continued to carry throughout her college years into her adult life.
“I still remember putting out the brown paper bags (for the cookies) and rolling out the cookie dough on the paper bags,” Woods said. “(After many years of doing that), I started to be the older one who would come home from college with my cousins and do the same thing (my aunt did).”
Many years later, Woods started her own family with her husband, David, and moved from Ohio to Newberry. In 2018, her passion and skillset for baking turned into more than just a hobby that she loved, but a business that grew to support her family.
Today, Wood’s cookie business is called Sugar Baby’s Cookies, which is a cottage food home-based business run out of Newberry and serving the Gainesville area and other surrounding cities.
The business features six to eight organic flavors that rotate every month between their “Sugar Baby Favorites” which include Snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, cookie and cream among many other flavors, including their latest seasonal flavor, Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodle.
Woods said they also have other seasonal flavors such as the Reese’s Explosion cookie, which is a double chocolate cookie stuffed with Reese’s Pieces, their Buckeye cookie in honor of football season in Ohio and their Chomping Chip cookie, which is in honor of the Florida Gators.
Woods also said the business can handle orders from 1,000 regular cookie orders to over 400 jumbo-sized cookie orders and that they can pretty much handle any shipment whether it’s for a business or an individual.
In October, Woods said they plan to have a couple more themed flavors for the fall season and then once November and December roll in, they will have their Christmas-flavored cookies available for purchase.
“(The name) Sugar Baby’s comes from my grandmother,” Woods said. “I was the first-born grandchild, and she would call me her ‘sugar baby’ in her sweet southern accent because she was from Mississippi. It’s been almost 12 years since she passed away and, in the beginning, we had a different name for the business because I did not love the meaning of a sugar baby, but I really I had peace with (keeping the name).”
Woods said the name of her business stood out to her because it was an honor of her grandmother’s legacy and a reminder of what she taught her including being very proud of her food.
“She loved to serve people and see them eat her food,” said Woods. “She was always excited to share what she made or what she did. So, the name is just really in honor of her and what she used to call me when I was little, which is why the name is possessive, Sugar Baby’s Cookies.”
Woods said she also feels the purpose behind her business is to not only make healthier cookie options for her customers but to leave them with a smile as well.
“I just want to make cookies and make people happy,” Woods said. “Sugar Baby’s Cookies feels like an avenue where I can love on people through sweets and get a chance to really interact with them.”
Woods said soon she plans to relocate the business from their home and into a storefront location where she can take more orders in bulk and provide a space where customers could walk in and order and not have to only place pick-up or delivery orders.
“One of our big goals is to have our cookies in stores, on shelves and in the cold section with no preservatives, all organic ingredients but the same cookies that our customers love,” said Woods.