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Sweet taste of success

Mr. Cory’s Cookies, a sold-out hit at Harlem EatUp!

His full, curly ‘fro, stylish, signature frames and exemplary sense of style attract you to Cory Nieves.

Beside his looks, Cory’s real claim to fame is his popular cookie company, Mr. Cory’s Cookies. Last weekend, Cory participated in the second annual Harlem EatUp! — a cultural display of Harlem, New York’s, food and art scene — where his cookies sold out before the end of the day. Cory, who just turned 12 on Sunday, was overwhelmed by the rave reviews of his cookies.

“[Selling out] means a lot to me because that means people care,” Cory said. “It’s awesome meeting new people.”

He was greeted by world-renown chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Bobby Flay and Daniel Boulud, and even a co-anchor of CBS This Morning — and Oprah Winfrey’s best friend — Gayle King. With 35,000 followers on Instagram, Cory’s network stretches far beyond the East Coast. That’s probably because the young entrepreneur has been working his brand since the age of 5.

In 2009, Cory began to think of ways he could save and help his mother, Lisa Howard, buy a car. He was tired of having to climb aboard public transportation, especially in bad weather. Cory suggested the two start selling hot cocoa on weekends during the cold months to make money.

He wanted a sweet treat to offer customers on the side, which led to experimenting with various cookie recipes until settling on one that best suited him. The cookies, which range from his favorite, chocolate chip, to lemon drops, are all-natural with no preservatives. Cory’s favorite — and most important ingredient — is love.

Cory and his mom began baking cookies from their home and selling them on the streets of Englewood, New Jersey, but the operation was cut short when the health department shut down the temporary business. Although his temporary business had ended, the health department helped Cory research how to start his business the legal way.

“We got shut down by the health department. After that we made our business [official],” Cory said. “It was an LLC corporation in 2012, and then we went on the Ellen Show!”

In 2014, he was invited to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where DeGeneres presented Cory with $10,000, and his mother with a car. He set the money aside for his college fund, and hopes to attend Princeton University after graduating from high school. He still plans to continue growing his business.

“I want to still be CEO of my company. I want to still bake,” Cory said. “I want to do a lot of hobbies like golf, play soccer, fly planes and help the community.”

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.