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Ahmani’s Cookie Company goes after the tourist market

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Ahmani Peets wants Ahmani’s Cookie Company to raise autism awareness (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Cookie entrepreneur Ahmani Peets celebrated his fourth year in business this week by installing his baked goods in a new location: Fresh on Queen Street in Hamilton.

Mr Peets, owner of Ahmani’s Cookie Company, thought Fresh’s high traffic and central location might draw in more of Bermuda’s visitors.

“I want everyone who comes to Bermuda to experience Ahmani’s Cookie Company,” Mr Peets said.

Ahmani Peets with cookies for sale at Fresh on Queen Street in Hamilton (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Fresh, a store selling a range of items for $6 and under, is Ahmani’s Cookie Company’s 15th location.

Mr Peets’ cookies, cheesecake and brownies are already in gas stations and grocery stores around the island. Scooter Mart buys his cookies and then gives them away free to customers.

But Mr Peets felt these locations were primarily reaching locals.

Fresh, owned by Sharrieff Wales, sells a range of products, such as soaps, knives, books, and detergent, for $6 and under. Mr Peets thought its high-traffic, central location might draw more tourists.

He had a taste of the visitor market last summer, when he sold his cookies at Harbour Night in Hamilton.

“That was phenomenal,” said his father, Anthony Peets, who assists with the business. “We had direct access to the tourists.”

It also gave them an opportunity to work on their secondary mission, raising awareness of autism. Ahmani Peets is on the autism spectrum.

Now, the Ahmani’s Cookie Company logo is printed on the lower half of Fresh’s door, along with the words: “Baking with autism”.

The entrepreneur showed an interest in baking at a young age. His family encouraged him to develop his skills, then helped him set up the business when he was 18, to support himself and become independent.

His parents were concerned about what would happen to him when they were gone.

“Over 90 per cent of kids on the spectrum do not have a career path,” his father said. “Nations have to choose how they are going to deal with a population that presents a little bit of uniqueness or different abilities.”

The son wants people to be more accepting of those who have uniqueness. He said while people on the autism spectrum often share common traits, they are all individuals.

“If you have met one person with autism, you have just met that one person,” his father said.

While selling his products at Harbour Night on Wednesday evenings, he met many families with children with autism.

“Autism is the world’s number one paediatric concern,” the senior Peets said.

His son launched the business out of his home on Collector’s Hill, Smith’s Parish in 2019. He now spends around eight hours a day baking in a commercial kitchen in Hamilton. He says he never tires of making cookies.

Cheesecake is one of his latest offerings, after a professional chef helped him develop a recipe.

Since releasing the product he has had rave reviews from customers who state that he could give the well-known American restaurant chain, the Cheese Cake Factory, “a run for its money”.

Mr Peets is aware of every step of the business, and can handle accounting programmes such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and QuickBooks, but he does get administrative help from family.

He will be 21 in April, and now drives a car and a bike, making his own deliveries.

Ahmani’s Cookie Company is doing well enough that they will soon be able to hire a staff member.

His four different social media platforms, draw international attention to the business. This week he made a shipment to Canada.

“This lady wrote to me and said she has a 13-year-old son with autism who is about to enter high school,” Mr Peets said. “She said seeing me run this business had helped her to believe in her son.”

His father said the company is going from “strength to strength”.

Last year, they looked at taking over a café, but the chance fell through. Now they are looking for other business opportunities.

“We don’t talk about being the best; we talk about doing our best,” he said.

Ahmani’s Cookie Company

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Published February 23, 2023 at 7:47 am (Updated February 23, 2023 at 7:47 am)

Ahmani’s Cookie Company goes after the tourist market

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