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MiVT: Ann Clark Cookie Cutters

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 2:00 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s been more than 15 years since we last checked in with Rutland’s Ann Clark Cookie Cutters.

“Then, we had the goal of let’s be the largest cookie cutter company in the world and I think we’re either there or pretty close to there,” CEO Ben Clark said.

When we paid them a visit in the mid-2000s, they were turning out 400,000 cutters a year.

“The last two years ago we made about 5 million, and we’re on target to do 7 million this year,” Clark explained.

It’s safe to say that things have changed since 2006, and even more so since they got their start in the 1980s.

“Back in the late ‘80s my mom had designed a pig and they made a cookie cutter and a cutting board and Christmas tree ornaments and a bunch of stuff to it, and they took it to a wholesale gift show and they sold a bunch of the stuff,” said Clark.

Ben Clark tells us his mom, Ann, still putters around the building every day. When WCAX went for our 15-year update, she wasn’t there, but we’re told she’s a character.

“She’s constantly painting, whether it’s a new recipe card or a new cookie idea or something to that effect,” said Clark. “She’s Ann Clark of Ann Clark cookie cutters!”

The rest of their 50-person team cranks out the cutters, which could be any one of nearly 3,000 shapes.

Ben Clark showed us around the factory, including how the cookie-cutter shaping machines work. They were invented and designed by the folks at Ann Clark and built by local suppliers. Though creating those machines and getting the process down may have taken some time, it’s certainly benefitting them in 2021.

“We’re at the point where we can produce a cookie cutter at the same price as it costs to bring the cookie cutter in from China,” he said. “And where COVID has sort of shut down so many suppliers, it’s given us infinite supply. We can make the stuff as we need it.”

Those COVID supply chain issues did impact their new food coloring gel, which was previously packed under a private label.

“We rented some space and built out a clean room and I think five months later we’re making food coloring,” Clark said of the new operation.

Now, those products are made by a small team in a new facility just down the road from their headquarters.

Regardless of the building you’re in, we’re told working for Ann Clark Cookie Cutters is positive just by nature.

“It’s about the process,” Clark said. “So, when people buy a cookie cutter, it means they’re going to go home and make cookies with their kids, they’re going to make cookies for a party, they’re going to make cookies for Santa, it’s an enjoyable process and at the end of the day we know that.”

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