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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023

Treats Take Cracks At Angelenos

Ray Richmond founded a company to make his Super Accurate Fortune Cookies last year, inspired by how Twitter upended communications with its 140-character messages. In fact, he calls fortune cookies the “original tweets.” The fortunes written by the former Los Angeles Daily News TV critic go beyond the usual words of wisdom and dole out wisecrack jokes at the reader’s expense. “The whole idea is to mock contemporary culture in a gentle but clever way,” Richmond said. But it turns out that upending the culinary world may be a lot harder than upending billion-dollar media companies. Richmond freely admits revenue has not been consistent but said he’s hoping for a burst of it for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday, similar to the spike he saw before Valentine’s Day and Hanukkah. The cookies come in 16 different and colorful flavors, including chocolate and white peppermint and are made by an Indianapolis baker. The Mother’s Day cookies are typical vanilla – but sans the cloyingly sweet messages of the day. One Richmond zinger pokes fun at moms: “You wont take it personally if your kid writes a memoir and titles it ‘From Hell to Adulthood.” Richmond has invested more than $60,000 of his own money in his Ray Richmond Co. startup in what he calls “trial-and-error” costs. In addition to the help he gets from his wife, he’s hired two part time employees who are on call for when business gets heavy. A box of 10 individually wrapped cookies retails at $8.99 and is sold through the company’s smartestcookies. com website. Richmond is looking to increase web sales through affiliate marketing and expand into gift shops by attending trade shows. He’s also supplying bridal showers and bar mitzvahs with customized cookies using personal details gathered from the client. So what about Chinese restaurants? He said they have yet to show interest, probably because of the higher price tag – in bulk, typical cookies cost less than 10 cents – but he has his sights set on P.F. Changs and Panda Express, which may be willing to spend the extra money. “I’m still catching up with the money spent on investment but more money’s starting to come in than go out now,” Richmond said. “It might be a million dollar idea in two or three years from now.” – Lucy Guanuna

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