WOW! Blog

What is Your Favorite Holiday Tradition in Cleveland?

This holiday season is in full swing and luckily there is still enough time to finish shopping for everyone on your list. Don’t forget to send WOW! Cookies! to your favorite neighbor or a far-away loved one this year! They will love your thoughtfulness almost as much as they love the amazing cookies!

There is Still Enough Time Take in a Few Holiday Traditions

If you are in the Cleveland area, where WOW! Cookies! is based, there are many different holiday traditions and events from which to choose this year.  Don’t miss the festivities. Plan something fun with friends and family and have a great time!

Here are a few Holiday options:

  • A Christmas Story HoA-Christmas-Story-30use – 30-Year Anniversary – open 7 days, year round – Numerous fun events and activities planned to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the iconic movie: A Christmas Story.  Call for more information (216) 298-4919
  • Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens – until Dec 30th – Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens transforms itself each holiday season into a winter wonderland. For 2013, the theme is “Heaven and Nature Sing.” There’ll be music, trees, lights, and floral decorations in the 21 decorated rooms. Outside, the gardens will be strung with thousands of glittering lights. The museum shop will be open for holiday shopping and the cafe will serve hot chocolate, cookies, and other holiday treats.
  • WinterFest at Public Square – until Jan 6th – A unique holiday light display in each quadrant of the square and the Christmas tree in front of Tower City.
  • “A Christmas Carol” by the Great Lakes Theater Festival – until Dec 22nd – See this Dickens classic about Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future at the Ohio Theater at Playhouse Square.
  • Holiday Display at the Rockefeller Greenhouse – until Jan 1st – Each holiday season the Cleveland Greenhouse, just north of University Circle, transforms itself into a holiday wonderland with hundreds of red, white, and pink Poinsettias and other Christmas flowering plants.
  • Lighting Display at Nela Park – until Jan 1st – The lighting display at the GE Lighting Center in Nela Park in East Cleveland has been a holiday tradition since 1925. The elaborate display lines GE’s property along Noble Road.
  • Christmas at Hale Farm – until Dec 23rd – The holiday season at Hale Farm, in Bath, harkens back to the 19th century with Lantern Tours of the historic site, all decked in traditional fashion for the holidays.
  • The Black Nativity at Karamu House – call for dates – Karamu House, located in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, is the oldest African-American theater in the United States. An annual Cleveland tradition, the Black Nativity, written by hometown literary master Langston Hughes, is a retelling of the Gospel according to St. Luke, set to the music and dance of the Black church.
  • Cleveland Orchestra Holiday Concerts at Severance Hall – until 22nd – The Cleveland Orchestra and Orchestra Chorus present a series of holiday concerts featuring all of classics carols.
  • Country Lights at Lake Farmpark – until Dec 23rd – For the holiday season, Lake Farmpark becomes a winter wonderland with horse-drawn wagon rides through the festive landscape, a Santa’s workshop for kids, a grove of decorated trees in the visitors’ center, and frequent visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
  • Wild Days of Winter at Penitentiary Glen – until Jan 5th – Step into the life-size board game with this new holiday attraction. There’ll be wildlife, holiday trees, music, food and prizes.
  • Winter Waterland at the Cleveland Aquarium – until Dec 23rd – The Cleveland Aquarium, located in the Powerhouse on the west bank of the Flats, is transforming itself into a winter, water wonderland for the holidays, with lights and decorations, special animal displays, crafts, live music and appearances by King Neptune himself.

Surely there are many, many more holiday events that are not listed here. But we hope this list will help you add some fun and excitement to your holidays this year.

Happy Holidays from WOW! Cookies!




Only One Person Gets That Cup: Rethink Client Gifts

Bradley Sanchez HousetonCEO, The Houseton Group

How Tempting: Sending Client Gifts Stamped with Your Logo

Of course it is tempting. Why not give your clients a really nice coffee cup with your logo? If the cup is attractive and comfortable to use (not all coffee cups are), then there it is — your corporate logo in your clients’ hands every day while they drink their “cup of ambition” (thanks Dolly Parton.)

What Really Happens to Those “Cool” Client Gifts Stamped with Your Logo?

The reality is that only one person, your client, or their assistant gets that cup. Or that pen. Or that padfolio. Or that thing that ends up on an ignored shelf in the company kitchen or supply closet along with all the other items stamped with some other company’s logo.  And surprisingly, many logo items that you send as client gifts don’t even stay at your client’s office. They get taken home for someone’s kids to use.

The kids actually think they are very cool. So there’s some value in that, right?

Why Not Maximize Your Impact by Giving Client Gifts They Want to Share?

Discover that gift your clients look forward to getting from you every year.  That one thing that arrives in the office, compelling everyone to stop what they are doing and gather around the stack of beautifully packaged cartons filled with the most decadent cookie and brownie assortments to ever grace their taste buds with welcoming linger.

A survey conducted earlier this year found that 70% of respondents prefer getting cookies, brownies, or other sweets as workplace gifts because it is something they can share with staff in their office. Instead of one person getting that traditional logo cup, that may or not get used, sending a box of decadent edibles is a way to make everyone’s day!

This is the kind of impact you want to have. This is how you say “thanks” to your clients for their business. This is how you want to be remembered during the holiday season.

WOW! Cookies! is your solution for client gifts this, and every
holiday season (and probably a good idea for your mother-in-law, too!)


Click on the images below to explore different
cookie and brownie assortments, or simply visit

Client Gifts: WOW! Cookies Holiday Stacks Client Gifts: WOW! Cookies! Holiday RedsClient GIfts: WOW! Cookies! Holiday Gifts



Bradley Sanchez Houseton is a guest blogger making regular
contributions to the WOW! Cookies! blog space.

You can find more from Bradley at The Houseton Group.

It’s Just Not Thanksgivukkah Until Someone Stuffs a Turkey with Brisket

Bradley Sanchez HousetonCEO, The Houseton Group

Thanksgivukkah. Yes, a once-in-a-life time occurrence, and we are all lucky to bear witness to this unusual set of observances. Actually, it is more rare than something that only comes along once in a lifetime. So that makes us extra lucky! Get your lottery tickets now.

The convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah hasn’t happened in 125 years and won’t happen again for 70,000 – or more – years because of how the Jewish calendar is based on the solar and lunar cycles.

So, now that you have an opportunity to experience Thanksgivukkah, here are a few ideas, from Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor.


Eight ways to celebrate Thanksgivukkah

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) – Break out the menurkeys and sweet potato latkes, people, it’s time to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Dana Gitell, a 37-year-old marketing manager for a Jewish nonprofit in Massachusetts, is the mind behind the mashup “Thanksgivukkah.” (If you think that’s a mouthful, her other ideas were “Thanksgiving-ukkah” and “Hanukkahgiving,” both of which caused our spellchecker to sputter and die.)

We don’t know if the rabbis approve of everything on our list, because people are sorta going nuts. Must be that once-in-an-eon thing. But without further ado (and with a nod toward Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights”), here are eight ways to celebrate Thanksgivukkah.

1. Light a menurkey

Leave it to a fourth-grader to create the ultimate Thanksgivukkah icon. He thought it would be really cool to have a menorah, the nine-branched candelabrum used to mark Hanukkah, in the shape of a turkey.  Over 6,000 have already sold.

2. Make a nice Turbrisket

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving was getting pretty gonzo even before meeting Hanukkah. I mean, turducken? But Thanksgivukkah has taken meal mashups to a new level.

You’ve got your Turbrisket (turkey filled with brisket), your deep-fried turkey, your sweet potato latkes, your cranberry-stuffed knishes, your pumpkin kugel, your pecan pie rugelach, and so much more.

3. Deck the halls for the Challahday

This is another spot where people are getting really creative… making pumpkin menorahs, Thanksgivukkah coloring books for kids, and table settings that mix and match Hanukkah and Thanksgiving themes.

4. Watch a really big dreidel spin down the streets of New York

To honor the confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Macy’s has created a 25-foot-tall, 21-foot-wide dreidel for its iconic parade. The “balloonicle” (part balloon, part vehicle) will spin just like a real dreidel, and it’s the first time the parade has included a Jewish symbol, according to Macy’s.

5. Party like it’s 165 BC (and 1621 CE)

Hanukkah, for those who need a refresher course, marks the miracle of the successful defense of the Jewish temple by the Maccabees, an army of Jewish rebels, against the Goliath-like Syrian-Greek army in 165 BC.

One day’s supply of oil somehow lit the temple’s menorah for eight days, and the rest is history.

The Jewish event and the Pilgrims’ arrival in America are both celebrations of religious freedom, says Sherry Kuiper.

6. Kvetch about Thanksgivukkah

Okay, this one isn’t exactly about celebrating.

But it must be acknowledged, some folks just aren’t into the Thanksgivukkah spirit.

Thanksgiving was one of the few holidays on which interfaith families didn’t have to explain to the kids “why mom believes this and dad believes that,” argues Allison Benedikt in a recent Slate column.

“I cannot tell you what a relief it is to have this one major holiday—the best one!—that isn’t in some part about what I am and my husband is not (Jewish), or what he is and I’m not (Christmas-celebrating),” Benedikt says. (And for just the record, sweet and sour braised brisket with cranberry sauce is an abomination, she says.)

Jennie Rivlin Roberts, whose Judaica store, Modern Tribe, is selling Thanksgivukkah gear like hotcakes, says she understands some of the kvetching.

But a mashup of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is so much better than the usual “December dilemma,” the overlap of the eight-day Jewish holiday and the cultural behemoth know as Christmas, Roberts says.

“With Thanksgivukkah, you’re not really mixing two religions, so you can really go for it. People may say it’s silly, and yeah, some of it is, but it’s also full of fun and joy.”


7. Watch a rap battle between a turkey and a dreidel



8. Watch a scary movie about stereotypes



See full article at:

Holiday Schmoliday: Do We Really Need a Special Day or Season?


The Chrismahanukwanzakah Holiday Season

There are at least a couple of schools of thought on whether or not special days or seasons are needed to remind all of us to be good and treat others even better.  There are the holidays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, National Margarita Day. The list is never-ending, especially if Hallmark has anything to say about it!

That being said, let’s prepare ourselves for the upcoming annual Chrismahanukwanzakah season, which is arguably the most festive season of the year in the U.S.  While we should always be good and treat others even better, the reality is that this is the time of year  in business, as well as in our personal lives with friends and family, we kick things up a few notches and are at our most generous in our spirit and in our spend.

This Holiday Is The Giving Season, Even for Businesses

Whether our collective and individual observances during the Chrismahanukwanzakah season are based in religious, cultural, community, celebratory, or even commercial rituals, this is the time of year when we really do give more of ourselves to let others know how special they are and how much we value them in our lives.

Focusing specifically on the business community.
The time is now to begin defining how you show your gratitude to clients for their loyalty and continued business, as well as to office staff for their great work in helping you be successful.

WOW! Cookies! would really like to be your supplier of holiday cheer for the gifts you send to clients and to office staff.

In a survey WOW! Cookies! conducted earlier this year, we learned that 50% of businesses send cookies, brownies, or other edibles as gifts to clients. We also learned that 70% of those surveyed said they prefer receiving cookies, brownies, or other edibles.

Being on the giving end of client gifts, it is a very attractive option to send some sort of useful gadget with your logo on it because of its enduring quality. The thought of your generosity is certainly communicated, but so is the self-serving nature of sending something — that people already have (i.e., coffee cups, pens, business card holders, etc.) — with your logo on it.

Being on the receiving end of client gifts, there is a much higher value placed on receiving something that is more personally pleasing like cookies because of the altruistic quality. In our survey, people told us they love getting cookies, brownies or other edibles because they can share them with others in the office. Whereas, only one person gets the coffee cup.

So think about how you are going to show your gratitude to clients and staff this year. Think about how to make people really feel special by making the gift about them.

DSC02151 cropped

Call or email WOW! Cookies! and let us help you put together gifts that will have a huge impact when they arrive on your clients’ desks.

COSE Business Pitch Competition

Bradley Sanchez Houseton
CEO, The Houseton Group

More Highlights from the COSE Small Business Convention

As I mentioned in a previous post, the COSE Small Business Convention was held in Sandusky, OH October 24th & 25th. If you were among the group of us who arrived onsite a day early, perhaps you also attended the COSE Business Pitch Competition on October 23rd to see the four finalists present their business ideas.

Really Good Stuff!

The format was basically that each presenter had 15 minutes to pitch their business idea and leave enough time in their allotment for Q&A with the panel of four judges.  Up for grabs was a $40,000 purse with each finalist taking home a percentage based on how they finished in the pitch competition.

  • 1st Place = $20,000 went to Daniel Mansoor of GiveNext, an online (and mobile) dashboard where donors transact and manage their charitable giving in partnership with the causes they care about.
  • 2nd Place = $10,000 went to Erika Boll of The Toasted Oat, LLC, a gluten-free granola manufacturer established in January 2013. The company targets wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales.
  • 3rd Place = $5,000 went to Nichelle McCall of BOLD Guidance, Inc. which makes applying to college less stressful with mobile and computer- based apps, that allows students to easily and efficiently manage the college application process from anywhere.
  • 4th Place = $5,000 went to Deb Stanzak of RonWear Port-able Clothing, a manufacturer of fashionable apparel, designed for comfort, modesty as well as ease of access for anyone who requires infusion for medical treatments.

Each business idea uniquely satisfied a real need in the marketplace. It was quite impressive. I can see why these four entrepreneurs were selected as the finalists in this year’s competition.


Daniel Mansoor, GiftNext, is awarded the 1st Place, $20,000 check.

Something else that was also incredibly impressive was how supportive and encouraging everyone seemed to be of these entrepreneurs. On the evening of the competition and over the next two days of the convention, it was clear that everyone wanted to see these new businesses succeed. Whether it was imparting words of wisdom, offering advice, or simply asking if there was anything these four entrepreneurs needed, there was a very generous and giving spirit that was ever present.

That same spirit was felt across the conference in workshops, plenaries, and in the exhibit hall. I was there with WOW! Cookies!, and everyone who came by the booth wanted more than just to sample the decadent cookies.  People grabbed a cookie then stayed and talked, shared experiences, and asked questions.  That level of engagement was quite gratifying.

I credit COSE for cultivating a culture of warmth, encouragement, and a drive to succeed.  It was a really great convention!

Congratulations to the four COSE Business Pitch Competition Finalists!  WOW! Cookies! wishes you a prosperous future!


See the official COSE announcement:



Bradley Sanchez Houseton is a guest blogger making regular
contributions to the WOW! Cookies! blog space.

You can find more from Bradley at The Houseton Group.

‘Joe Froggers!’ Fall cookies with great tradition!

About 10 years ago, a great pastry chef, Nancy Baggett came into my life.  She was on a book tour and was demonstrating ‘cookie baking’ with recipes from her book , The All American Cookie Book.  And, my cookie obsession began.  Happily, I’m laying my personal career decision at her feet.  She inspired me to get baking and build a business.  Soon enough, WOW! Cookies! became a fixture in the Cleveland area.  One of my first customers was from India, and absolutely CRAVED my molasses cookies.  Giving credit where due….Nancy Baggett and her Joe Froggers were the start of a great decade of sweet gifting! Continue reading “‘Joe Froggers!’ Fall cookies with great tradition!”

Not Valentine’s Day… it’s the Sweetest Day

Bradley Sanchez Houseton
CEO, The Houseton Group

Sweetest Day Originally Aimed to Remember the Sick, Aged, and Orphaned.

Observed the 3rd Saturday in October, Sweetest Day observance originated in Cleveland in 1922. Herbert Birch Kingston, a philanthropist and candy company employee wanted to bring happiness into the lives of orphans, shut-ins and others who were forgotten. With the help of friends, he began to distribute candy and small gifts to the underprivileged.

On the first Sweetest Day, movie star Ann Pennington presented 2,200 Cleveland newspaper boys with boxes of candy to express gratitude for their service to the public.

Another popular movie star, Theda Bara, distributed 10,000 boxes of candy to people in Cleveland hospitals and also gave candy to all who came to watch her film in a local theater.

Primarily a regional observance celebrated in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, Sweetest Day is gradually spreading to other areas of the country. People tend to take the Sweetest Day tradition with them when they move. Ohio is the top state for Sweetest Day sales, followed by Michigan and Illinois. Texas, California and Florida are among the top 10 states in sales.

Over the years, Sweetest Day has evolved into a time to
express romantic love and also to show appreciation to friends. 


Sweetest Day is observed annually
on the 3rd Saturday of October.

Need ideas on how to observe and celebrate Sweetest Day?
WOW! Cookies! has exactly what you need. 





Bradley Sanchez Houseton is a guest blogger making regular
contributions to the WOW! Cookies! blog space.

You can find more from Bradley at The Houseton Group.

WOW! A Pumpkin Brownie

Fall is a most beautiful time of year in Northeast Ohio.  This year, we’ve already had our first frost, and pumpkin patches are everywhere! Continue reading “WOW! A Pumpkin Brownie”

Don’t Let The Courtship End With Your Clients

Bradley Sanchez Houseton
CEO, The Houseton Group

Wooing Your Clients

A great amount of time, attention, and creativity are dedicated to landing new clients and, for most companies, that is where the wooing ends and a routine business relationship begins. Which is perfectly fine if the routine business relationship meets the expectations of your clients, like providing top-notch products and services, fair pricing and fees, regular communication, and good, responsive customer service.

But What Happened to the Woo?

While you are doing a great job of doing the job for which you were hired, feel free to go even further. Go above and beyond. Do a little something extra to let your clients know you appreciate them and value their business.

How about exceeding your client’s expectations by continuing the courtship?  Woo your clients with a handwritten note. Meet for regularly scheduled lunches if you live in the same city. Send a box of cookies to your client’s office for their staff to share.

Now, with the holidays approaching, it is a good time to think about how to make your clients feel special with a tangible expression of your gratitude for their loyalty.

WOW! Cookies! has exactly what you need. 




Bradley Sanchez Houseton is a guest blogger making regular
contributions to the WOW! Cookies! blog space.

You can find more from Bradley at The Houseton Group.