Here's What Happened To Blondie's Cookies After Shark Tank

Blondie's Cookies was first created by Brenda Coffman in 1984 while she was a business student at Indiana State University. She started by selling her baked goods from her on-campus apartment to a customer base that primarily consisted of university students and teachers. Coffman's cookie recipes took her around seven years to get right, and she started with 11 different types of cookies and one brownie. She now has at least 20 different cookie flavors, three kinds of brownies, and a bar-shaped baked good that she calls "Chewies."

Coffman opened her first retail store in a mall in Kokomo, Indiana in 1985, and she quickly continued growing her business — by 2000, she had nine retail locations in Indiana. Taking a leap with her business expansion, Coffman set her sights on Florida and opened four stores there in 2010.

Wanting to expand her baked good business even further, she sought the help of investors on the popular show "Shark Tank," where entrepreneurs can pitch their products and business ideas to self-made millionaires and billionaires. So what happened when the Sharks — Kevin O'Leary, a venture capitalist; Barbara Corcoran, a big-time real estate professional; Daymond John, an expert in branding and fashion; Robert Herjavec, a technology innovator; and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and AXS TV — met Blondie's Cookies?

The Sharks are wary of Coffman's Florida expansion

Bubbly Brenda Coffman, also known as "Blondie," arrived at "Shark Tank" in 2012 asking for $200,000 for a 3% stake in her business, Blondie's Cookies, Inc., putting the valuation of her company at about $7 million. While the Sharks loved the cookie samples she brought, her numbers didn't quite add up. After telling them that she'd made $2.3 million in sales the previous year and was projecting $2.5 million for the current year, she admitted that her stores in Florida had lost about $175,000, and she was $800,000 in debt.

Because of the amount of debt and the money her four new Florida stores are losing, the Sharks each bow out. Barbara Corcoran, while telling Coffman that she's a "bubbly little angel," also bluntly tells her that opening the new Florida stores at the same time was a mistake, and that her honor and refusal to quit will be her downfall in the end. After Daymond John informs her he plans to eat all the cookies she brought and the Sharks wish her the best, she leaves without an offer. In her post-episode interview, Coffman admits she's "a little disappointed, but I've never given up in 26 years, and I'm not giving up now."

Blondie's Cookies after Shark Tank

Three years later, Brenda Coffman recognized the impact the show had on Blondie's Cookies. "The Shark Tank took us from selling to only our midwest clients to all over the country and even overseas," she told packaging distributor Nashville Wraps. "By being chosen to appear on the show, our products were introduced to millions of viewers at one time." While she didn't get the investment from the sharks that she'd hoped for, Coffman learned a lot and changed her business based on their feedback.

While more than 50% of its cookie and brownie sales were still in-store, after its "Shark Tank" appearance, Blondie's Cookies increased its online sales and mail-order business from 1% to 15%. By 2015 Coffman was celebrating highs and lows, as two of the Florida stores had closed, but Blondie's Cookies were that year's Zoobilation People's Choice Winner for best dessert and also received rave reviews from celebrities and athletes like Matt Walsh, Martha Stewart, and Andrew Zimmern, which Coffman posted photos of on her Twitter and Facebook pages.

Blondie's Cookies business has gotten bigger

A decade later, Blondie's Cookies is still going strong. Its last two stores in Florida closed, but Brenda Coffman began focusing more on making the Indiana locations successful and finding new avenues for the business. One of these is the fundraising division. Any group or organization can purchase Blondie's Cookies cookie dough and sell it, earning a 40% profit. There are 11 purchasing options, including cookie dough, ready-to-eat Iced Sprinkle Cookies and brownies, Gourmet Cookies Mixes in a jar, and Sprinkle Cookie Kits.

During the pandemic, Blondie's Cookies also partnered with Doordash and Grubhub and began to discover how many people like cookie deliveries. "Surprisingly, that's been a really big market for us," she told the Kokomo Tribune. "We didn't think that was going to be the case. But with the younger generation, and the older generation who can't get out to a shopping mall, it's popular. It's been quite amazing to see."

Most importantly, Blondie's Cookies moved into a new, larger facility in Greentown in 2022. In addition to the corporate offices, it houses a test kitchen, event space, and a Blondie's Cookies retail store. Coffman is excited to use the new test kitchen to make cooking videos and plans to use the event space for cooking classes as well. The mail-order side of the business will also operate at its new location.

Coffman has lots of plans for the future

Brenda Coffman still insists on making her cookies without artificial flavors and preservatives, which is a big reason she feels the company has so many loyal customers despite the presence of rivals like Milk Bar and Insomnia Cookies. "In the last four years we've had some competition pop up across the U.S. that we didn't have before," Coffman told Tasting Table. "And we welcome that competition because we have found that novelty wears off, but goodness doesn't wear off."

Coffman has continued coming up with new flavors and cookie styles, with a new flavor appearing on the website and in stores every month. In June 2021 the company debuted a new cookie style: the Big Bite. Twice the size of its regular cookies, the Big Bite has come in flavors like Strawberry Shortcake Sprinkle, Cinnamon Roll, and Raspberry and Cream Sprinkle.

Coffman is always looking for new ways to expand the business, and one of those she's most hopeful about is franchising. "We know our brand is so strong at this point, and our systems and techniques are so accurate, that we can train someone to have their own skin in the game and make a living doing what we do in their own city without adding the extra [logistical] burden," she told Kokomo Tribune.