Sweet Success

Making cookies for a living seems sweet, but it requires a solid business plan for continued success and financial growth.

When Meryl Kennedy Farr and her family invested in a cookie dough manufacturing facility in Monroe, Louisiana, they turned to dear friend and Origin banker Harold Book. This business venture later became known as Neighbors Cookies, LLC.

More than an experienced banker, Harold has worked with Meryl’s family for nearly her entire life. He’s a trusted voice and a family confidant who, Meryl says, has been an invaluable resource with her business.

“I've had some really incredible people that have supported me along my journey as a business person, and Harold is one of those people,” Meryl says. “Being able to openly talk to him or ask him questions or ask his advice is very rare in a banking relationship.”

That level of expertise is crucial for Neighbors’ business model ‒ its frozen cookie dough is sold primarily through schools, churches, clubs and other organizations for fundraising. Origin’s involvement in its own communities gives the bank an authentic understanding of Meryl’s needs.

“Neighbor” was a nickname and greeting that was started by Meryl’s grandfather and carried on by her father. This became the perfect moniker for the brand.

The Neighbor mentality underscores, “what we do here and that we give back to communities and that we show people what it is to be a neighbor,” Meryl says. “There is a lot of passion that goes behind each and every cookie that we make.”

And that’s no small feat, considering the amount of cookies involved. Each year, Neighbors turns out 30 million pounds of dough, which translates to approximately 440 million cookies.

“And the cookies are good too,” says Harold, who admits to a certain amount of taste-testing over the years. “That's a bonus.”