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Vt. businesses bank on the Big E - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. businesses bank on the Big E

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -

Love might be the first word that comes to mind when you think of freshly baked cookies, and that's exactly what the owners of Cookie Love in Ferrisburgh are banking on. Paul Seyler and his wife, Suzanna, started Cookie Love two years ago. The company cranks out about 40-dozen cookies a day. But it's getting ready to go big-- really big.

"Baking cookies, making love pop, ice cream sandwiches-- we're going to go through 200 pounds of cookie dough," Paul Seyler said.

It's an order that's taken two months and many sleepless nights to get ready, not to mention it will be hand delivered 200 miles away to the Big E or Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass.

"People want a certain thing at the Big E," Seyler said. "They're looking for something fun and exciting."

The Big E is a 17-day long fair that attracts over 1 million people. Each New England state has its own building filled with products and information to draw visitors in and hopefully to the state.

"Vendors we've had over the years have said they've increased online sales by 30 percent," said Sheila Masterson, the manager of the Vermont Building.

Last year was the first time Cookie Love was featured in the Vermont Building. Only 19 companies are there, some only for a few days at a time.

"I think it was because the stars were aligned, ready to go for a cookie company," Seyler said.

Cookie Love replaced a vendor promoting and selling milk with a side of cookies. Now the booth is filled with fresh love cookies, served with a side of milk.

"Have something for hot or cold because people want things based on the weather," Seyler explained.

But it wasn't all love last year at the Big E-- Cookie Love broke even. They overshot supply and brought too many workers. This year, Cookie Love says it has the recipe for success, with a better idea of demand and temporarily hiring local workers, so they don't have to pay for hotels and meals. And it's introducing a new Big E exclusive: Say hello to the Love Pop-- pasteurized frozen cookie dough on a stick dipped in Belgian chocolate.

"There's no way to know until you try," Seyler said. "This was the first year to try. Next year we'll bring them by the truck loads."

But don't be fooled, there's more than just food in the state buildings to choose from. This fair on steroids is jampacked with all kinds of fair finds, along with specialty foods. The competition is fierce.

"You still have to have a great product or people won't come back," Seyler said. "There's too much to choose from."

Ovens and an effort filled with love being served up to a New England audience.

Click here for more on the Big E.

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