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Upper West Sider Creates Chip n’ Etzel—Pretzels and Potato Chips Team with a Cookie
Do you crave potato chips? How about pretzels? Wouldn’t you love to plow through a box of cookies? You could gorge on all three snacks at once. But that would be a bit piggy.
What to do if you’re hit with a mega-snack attack?
Upper West Sider Sara Leand, aka Sara Snacker, has come up with a novel solution. She’s created the Chip n’ Etzel, a crunchy cookie married to those salty snack favorites, pretzels and potato chips.
How did the Upper West Side entrepreneur come up with the idea for the salty-sweet treat?
As a college student, Leand sold baked goodies out of her college dorm room. Then came a 15-year stint as an entertainment executive, producing TV shows for major networks like E!, Lifetime and TLC. Now, Leand, married and the mother of a 13-month old, has returned to her original passion—baking.
But the decision to switch from TV honcho to full-time commercial baker wasn’t an easy one.
“It was a pretty difficult choice,” she recalled of her leap into the cookie business last June. “I was pregnant with my first child…When I got pregnant, I saw it as a sign. I wanted to be close to my child and it seemed like the time to do it.”
Leand wanted to create a product that evoked nostalgia for childhood sweets. Thus was born the Chip n’ Etzel. At the Fancy Food Show in New York, the TV exec-turned-baker found a distributor. She rented space from a baker in New Jersey, where a team of around five workers helps her crank out her baked product. Soon, Chip n’ Etzels were showing up in a number of Upper West Side emporiums, including Zabar’s, Westside Market and Garden of Eden.
Though running her own baking business gives Leand the flexibility to spend time with her daughter, the demands can be daunting.
“It’s 24/7,” she said. “It’s about sampling, tasting, and getting the word out.”
At West Side Market, at 2840 Broadway at 110th Street, the cookies which have been on the shelves a couple of months, are ” doing good,” says Efren Mones, the store’s bakery manager. “People buy them to drink with tea,” he said. Down the street, Garden of Eden bakery manager Rita Shabnam reports the store has sold six-to-eight cases of the snacks over the past month-and-a-half.
The Chip n’ Etzel comes in four varieties, dusted, in sugar, coated in white or dark chocolate and bite-sized. Meanwhile, Leand is busy testing recipes for additional treats that she plans to roll out in retail stores and on her website. Among them are lemonade, vanilla milkshake, and cotton candy cookies.
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