The award also came with a five-year tax increment financing agreement of more than $35,000 from the city, according to the state. The state’s financing represents about 10 percent of what the company invested in equipment and expansion, Bialecki said, acknowledging this is a small percentage of the total investment.
What did the state see in the cookie wholesaler?
“They are making the commitment to invest in themselves,” Bialecki said, “and they are also confident enough about their growth that they make a commitment to the state that they will keep on the people they have and grow and add more jobs.”
The company’s expansion included the addition of a large mezzanine level. It enlarged its freezer to 8,000 square feet to accommodate 900 pallets, up from 300, to smooth production and to lessen the need to send their cookies elsewhere for storage. The company enlarged its warehouse and maintenance spaces, and installed a 90,000-pound indoor sugar silo that automatically pumps the sugar into the mixers when needed.
When asked what makes Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies a success, Marc Hazel pointed to innovation and quality assurance, but the soft-spoken founder said simply: “The taste of the cookies. It’s all the hard work, but if they don’t taste good, no one is going to buy them, you know.”
Jacqueline Hazel, who grew up in Everett and now lives in Revere, founded the company about 22 years ago, making cheesecakes, tortes and tiramisu for local restaurants out of her kitchen.
“I started out with just my sister,” Jacqueline said. “My kids were young, I did practically the whole thing.”
Marc Hazel graduated from Boston College in 1995 and eventually went on to grow his mother’s business. They began to hire help and buy machinery, and along the way moved from Everett to Malden and finally to Salem.