When Collin Yarbrough graduated from college in upstate New York in 2011 and moved back home to Dallas, he didn’t yet have a job. Collin had earned a dual degree in engineering and management from Clarkson University, but he had no intention of being idle while waiting for his dream offer.
“Mom,” he said, “I think God wants me to start a bakery to benefit charity.”
“He’s our dreamer child,” jokes Judy Yarbrough. “We told him ‘That’s one of your dreams we can get behind.’”
Collin’s vision was to start a bakery selling homemade cookies, using ingredients sourced from Texas businesses. Proceeds after ingredient costs go “full circle” back to area non-profits. The name? Full Circle Bakery.
Full Circle Bakery is regulated under the Texas Cottage Food Law, meaning all cookies are prepared in the Yarbrough’s spotless kitchen. Now that Collin works for Atmos Energy, he continues to bake with mom evenings and weekends.
“I told Collin, ‘I’d hate to see your dream go by the wayside,’” said Judy.
Their first beneficiary was the Grief and Loss Center at Wilshire Baptist Church where they are members. Currently, proceeds go to CitySquare, which fights homelessness and hunger in Dallas. Each year, they’ll highlight two non-profits to benefit. For every dozen cookies sold, $6-7 of the $9 collected goes to charity.
“It’s been a joy and a blessing working alongside my mom. At Wilshire, she’s always had this persona as ‘The Cookie Lady’. I love that I can share this passion with her, even though we have different baking styles.”
Collin first started baking in college, he says, when he was doing a six month gig for Johnson & Johnson in Memphis and he was too young to go out with his 21-year-old friends.
“I bought my first Kitchen Aid stand mixer on Craigslist, and I the first thing I made was from a box. I took one bite and threw it out.”
He kept at it, eventually developing his own Oatmeal Toffee cookie recipe.
“That was the genesis of my foray into baking. Now it’s the cookie we sell most.”
“Oh, we are so very proud of him,” Judy told me, referring to husband, Charles. “He has always been a kid with lots of ideas. Some haven’t gotten off the ground. Sometimes we have said, ‘you have to pay for this one.’ He’s smart and very outgoing. Once he gets an idea, he goes at it full force.”
“He learned cooking from me, and he loves baking. He’s a people person and he likes to help people feel important. Running a bakery is a way he can give back.”
“We’ve had people from his office and our friends buy a few dozen here and a few dozen there. We were getting discouraged, then we had a really big order in May through our church. Last week, Wilshire ordered 45 dozen for a staff appreciation luncheon, and that gave us a boost. Now he’s working on 3 different kinds of cookies for the fall push.”
You can get a full listing for their cookies here, including Snickerdoodles, Gingersnaps, Coconut Crunch and, of course, Chocolate Chip.
Just this week, amendments to the Cottage Food law went into effect permitting items to be sold outside the home. The Yarbroughs are considering applying to outlets such as White Rock Local Market to expand their sales and get the word out. They also have a website and Facebook page.
“It’s fun, but around Christmas, we get pretty tired of looking at cookie dough,” laughed Judy. “But it’s really cool. Helping smaller charities is wonderful, because we can really make a difference.”
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