Small businesses get celebrated in Holyoke

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Small Business Day in Holyoke was held on Saturday. 22News found out from budding business owners how small business can have a big impact in community.

Sheila Coon was a single mother of seven when she decided to start her warm cookie delivery service. She told 22News, “I had a college degree but I needed a job that would allow me to be a mom to my kids and feed them. I couldn’t find it, so I decided I’m going to create it. So I did. I started Hot Oven Cookies.”

In just a few short years with help from her husband David, a veteran of the Marines, and support from programs like Spark in Holyoke, business is as hot as the cookies they’re baking.

Sheila is fast on the path of franchising her mobile cookie carts, and she said she wants to use her success to support others.

Hot Oven Cookies hopes to expand and provide job opportunities and business opportunities to veterans and single mothers.

Organizations like Spark and Score got together Saturday morning to offer a free small business meetup to provide mentorship and mini workshops for budding entrepreneurs.

Spark, part of the Holyoke Chamber centennial foundation, aims to eliminate the barriers keeping people from opening their own businesses.

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti of Spark Entrepreneurship Program told 22News, “We offer classes and workshops and a nine week business accelerator course for anyone who is interested in opening a business or has just started and is looking for some more resources.”

Sheila said she plans to support small business owners herself, helping single parents and veterans open hot oven cookie franchises to provide self-empowerment through self-employment.