Kristy Greenwood spreads the love with Victory Love + Cookies
To Kristy Greenwood, the equation is simple: love + cookies = victory. Since she was a little girl, Greenwood has loved to bake cookies and share them with family and friends. But it took a bout with breast cancer for her to decide that she would turn her passion into a full-time business.
Now her bakery, Victory Love + Cookies, is celebrating its fourth birthday, with plenty of sugar to go around. "Cookies have pretty much always been my own thing. They're kind of how I express love to anybody and everybody," she says.
Greenwood had worked at the Denver Bread Company for ten years when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. After taking two years off, she wasn't sure she wanted to return to her previous routine. For a while, she thought about getting a different job, without success. "I applied all over the place, I have all this experience, no one would hire me," she remembers. "It was like the universe -- God, whatever you want to call it -- really wanted me to start my cookie business."
And during this two-year hiatus, it became clear to her that happiness didn't come from routine. "I would walk around my house and find all these lists -- I'm a real list maker -- of 'do the checkbook, clean the litterbox,' the same lists a hundred times," Greenwood recalls. "And once I got sick, I was like, 'Man, those things are bullshit, it doesn't even matter, it makes no difference.' And it just really put into very clear perspective what it was I wanted."
So she decided to do what she does best: bake cookies. She started Victory Love + Cookies within the Denver Bread Company, because she knew it was the only way she would be able to still spend time with boyfriend Greg Bortz, who owns Denver Bread.
The name for her bakery came from a fundraiser that Greenwood's friends held for her. She wasn't too sure about that at first, but she eventually agreed to the effort on the condition that the word not "cancer" not be included. So they called it the Kristy Greenwood Victory Fund. "They threw me this amazing party," she says. "You've never been to a party with more love. It was more than at a wedding; everybody there was practically vibrating.
"When it came time for me to name my business, I was like, 'I want some of that energy in my business, I want that great feeling that comes with that.'" And so Victory Love + Cookies was born.
Today cookies are on Greenwood's mind -- all the time. "I literally dream about cookies, think about cookies," she says. She can find inspiration anywhere, including when she's listening to a local band. That's how she comes up with her unique flavors. Of course, she also delivers the classics, like chocolate chip, oatmeal and ginger. "After that, I kind of take off on my own and do different kinds of cookies," Greenwood says. "I don't think you're going to find strawberry margarita or cornmeal with dried fig or bourbon ginger ale anywhere else."
But delicious cookies are just one half of the equation. It's important to Greenwood that her cookies bring smiles to her customer's faces, and that they feel the love she puts into them. "I always think cookies are like puppies and babies, they make everyone happy," she explains. "Even though I don't know all my customers, I feel like I can reach out to them and I always [sell] them in packages so people will share them."