Jewellery off, puffy blue hair nets on and white coats buttoned up, it felt more like a scene from Scrubs than a visit to a cookie factory in the middle of Bentleigh East.
But the smell of baked treats told a different story.
Charlie’s Cookies is run by Elsternwick husband and wife team Ken Mahlab and Jacky Magid.
When Mr Mahlab bought the business in 2004, it was in the red.
Now the parents of two have turned things around and created a 40-product brand that has contracts with Qantas and cafe chains and sells at Woolworths and Thomas Dux.
Charlie’s Cookies will be stocked at the cafe inside the new Glen Sports and Aquatic Centre across the road from where they are made.
The factory and shop at 225 East Boundary Rd, Bentleigh East, has 17 staff making 700-1200kg of cookies a day.
“We don’t let ourselves get stale, we have to keep innovating,” Ms Magid said.
“We are baking every day and everyone works incredibly hard.”
The factory, with its unassuming brick facade, works to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, the highest standards for food manufacturing.
Ms Magid said a test kitchen was being built so the team could develop new recipes.
“Anyone who has an oven can make a biscuit, so you focus on what you do well and go with it,” she said.
Charlie’s Cookies’ dinky biscuit packs and cups of mini cookies are big sellers - but “everyone’s favourite is the lemon melting moments”.
Source and Photo: Bayside Leader