Trey Seaholm and Cary Sanchez weren’t looking for a life-changing leap into adventure.
He’s an electrician.
She’s a clinical technician.
And, they’re the new owners of The Happy Dough.
The couple sells edible cookie dough by the ice cream scoop at a kiosk at Tampa Premium Outlets, off State Road 56.
Eat it raw. Take it home to bake. Or, mix it with other desserts.
Cookie dough, that forbidden fruit of childhood, is the newest trend in sweet treats.
Recipe changes – using pasteurized eggs/heat treated flour – make the difference.
There’s no more need to sneak sticky-finger globs from a mixing bowl.
“We thought it was a wonderful, unique idea,” Sanchez said. “It’s now safe to lick the bowl.”
Do, a shop near Greenwich Village in New York City, gets credit for pioneering edible cookie dough. Its customers line up out the door. Its reputation is spurring others to catch cookie dough’s rising star.
Seaholm, Sanchez and Seaholm’s mother, Debra Fuxan, hopped a flight to the Big Apple for a visit to Do. They came away persuaded that Tampa Bay needed cookie dough.
“I have entrepreneurial spirit,” said Seaholm. “I see all kinds of ideas and think I can do it all.”
Seaholm began researching the idea.
“He was talking about it. He was so excited,” Sanchez said. “He was the engine.”
Everyone pitched in to try out recipes that met the taste test, including Fuxan, who is a Realtor in Lutz.
That took months.
On a whim, the couple visited the outlet mall and met with, by chance, Stacy Nance, the mall’s manager.
It was a Saturday, when Nance normally wouldn’t be on site.
“She loved the concept,” Sanchez said. “She wanted something here.”
A kiosk spot happened to be open across from Skechers and PacSun.
The couple felt something more than chance put them in the right place at the right time. Their Christian faith is a guide.
“This is from the Lord that this is happening,” Sanchez said.
She and Seaholm plan to marry and blend their families. She has 11-year-old twin daughters, and a four-year-old son. He has two daughters, ages 9 and 11.
From opening day on July 25 to the grand opening on Aug. 4, The Happy Dough has met the couple’s expectations, and more.
Still, there is a learning curve, but in a good way.
Seaholm bought nearly 5,000 cups to serve up the dough for the first month. Sales were brisk from Day 1.
On grand opening day, the cups ran out, forcing Seaholm to rush over to Costco Wholesale to restock.
Sanchez estimates that more than 800 people bought cookie dough that day. Sometimes the lines were 20 to 30 people deep, she said.
The dough is mixed at a local commercial kitchen.
About 10 flavors, and one gluten-free flavor are available. But, the couple welcomes flavor suggestions from customers. They also are beginning to try to perfect a vegan recipe.
It’s a family commitment with Fuxan, and even, Sanchez’ brother and sister-in-law doing their part.
Sanchez takes charge of social media including The Happy Dough’s Facebook and Instagram sites. Seaholm is full-time at the kiosk. Sanchez works at Moffitt Cancer Center, and helps out as her schedule permits.
This is only the beginning, family members said.
As time goes on, they would like to see their kiosk grow into a brick-and-mortar storefront at the mall.
Published August 16, 2017