Busha’s Custom Cookies serves a wide range of flavors for cookies personally designed for any event and allows individuals to decorate their own pastries through private lessons. Located in Downtown Bryan, the business is owned and operated by Catherine Buckner, Class of 2011.
As a student, Buckner studied leadership and development, worked in several restaurants in College Station and had the opportunity to study baking abroad. Buckner said the support of her academic advisor allowed her to pursue this passion.
“While I was in school, I had an amazing advisor who was able to get me school credit. I worked in Ireland for a summer in one of the oldest running bakeries, and it was phenomenal,” Buckner said. “I worked locally at Sweet Eugene’s … from 12 to 6 a.m.”
Following her graduation, Buckner worked in Houston, St. Louis and College Station as a baker and manager with multiple businesses. Buckner said having these jobs would allow her to master the range of skills a baker needs.
“I always knew I wanted to own my own bakery. I knew I wanted to learn every aspect from the very bottom to the very top,” Buckner said. “The way I saw it, I needed to be completely educated in order to run this thing properly.”
Buckner said she began creating her own custom cookies around three years ago and soon realized it had the potential to become a full-time career.
“I started making cookies on the side, just to make some extra money,” Buckner said. “I’m grateful and blessed that it just took off. My advice to every entrepreneur is to just take it slow. Don’t jump full force in. What I did was I had a full-time job, did cookies on the side and got too busy [with cookies] and went down to part-time, then went to full time with my business.”
While Busha’s has been operating for several years out of Buckner’s home, she said the COVID-19 pandemic is what pushed her to finally open a storefront in Downtown Bryan.
“During the pandemic we shut down … I really evaluated myself and what I wanted and what I needed to do,” Buckner said. “Instead of giving up, we decided to [do] the opposite. So I hired a personal assistant. We wrote up a business plan and went into every nook and cranny of how to open a shop, and we just went for it.”
The store opened to visitors and cookie class students on Feb. 12, 2021. In just a month, the business has found success, and Buckner said she recommends customers place orders two to three weeks in advance.
“As soon as we were open again, we blasted off,” Buckner said. “Ever since then, we’ve done phenomenally. We’re booked two weeks out. We are hiring a part-time decorator to fill up more time.”
Buckner is not alone at Busha’s and has a small staff at her new brick-and-mortar. Engineering technology senior and business administrator Jade Chapman said she is able to work hands-on in the development of this business.
“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to take the big risk of moving into the bakery,” Chapman said. “This has been an incredible experience as I have learned so much that goes into starting a business and being a local entrepreneur.”