Necessity is the mother of invention. Schmackary’s, the New York City cookie bakery and coffee shop was founded by Zachary Schmahl (Schmackary was his childhood nickname back in Nebraska) after he was laid off as a result of the Great Recession.
Initially, Zach started Schmackary’s as on online cookie shipping and delivery service out of his apartment as a passion project. “Baking had always been a passion of mine, but I never thought of it as a way to make money,” he says. Once he was laid-off, he examined his options: “find another dead-end job or follow through with this cookie thing. I chose the latter and it took off like a speeding bullet. Now I'm living my dream doing something I absolutely love and bringing something new to New Yorkers.
Schmackary’s has quickly become a sensation. “I think New York needed a bit of down home country comfort to remind them to slow down and enjoy how sweet and delicious life can be.”
“I've always said, ‘Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Live, Love, Be happy and bring passion to everything that you do.’” This is Zach’s inner mantra, the thing that keeps him going every day.
Zach opened his first storefront (with the help of his dog “Potato,” the company mascot) this past May, serving his “Lip Schmackin’ Good” cookies from a Hell’s Kitchen location (a neighborhood near the Theater District) with an ever changing menu. “It gives people something to look forward to each and every time they come by our shop and keeps them interested.”
Schmackary’s cookie enthusiasts—or “Cookie Monsters,” as Zach affectionately refers to them, are greeted daily at Schmackary’s by a selection of cookies – ranging from a Classic Chocolate Chip to more inventive flavors like Peanut Butter Cup, White Chocolate Cherry Chunker and Zach’s infamous Red Velvet Cookie, to specials and seasonal flavors. He also serves cookie-inspired treats, such as Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, Kitchen Sink Cookie Bar, Cookie Infusion Milkshakes and Schmack Pops, a cookie dough-like treat on a stick.
So what is Schmackary's secret to success? “Innovation and evolution,” says Zach. “Those are two things I think are important for every start up business and I think they are the only true way to stay successful in a business like this…and as my dad always says, "The great ones always adapt." There are always going to be struggles and with the world's taste changing all the time, you have to be adaptable. The fear of evolving the way you do things is the reason many businesses fail, so I always remind myself to not be afraid of change.”
Zach also believes in the importance of give people excellent customer service, an amazing product and branding they'll remember. With that, “you'll always keep them wanting more.”