The Sugar Cookie Miracle
Lately, our news has been full of sad stories of loss, and so much fear of the unknown. I want to share a story with you that starts with all of those things but has morphed into something beautiful, exciting and full of hope.
Susie & Scott Robison have been the heart and soul of little shop called Master’s Hand in rural Tekamah, Nebraska since 2003. Appropriately titled, “Every Woman’s Dream Shop,” if you were to visit, you’d find an adorable shop with jewelry, home decor, and gifts - dining rooms serving delicious luncheons, a chocolate factory, a candle factory and a floral shop all rolled into one. Their Facebook page amassed nearly 10,000 fans as Scott and Susie’s hilarious and heartwarming videos were shared again and again. The unique shop became increasingly popular and visitors would make the trip from all over the Midwest to experience Master’s Hand for themselves. Susie and Scott have always been passionate about investing in their community and providing a destination for folks to get away for a bit. Guests love the opportunity to slow down and reconnect as they spend time with their family and friends, sample some fudge, shop for a gift for a loved one, and catch up with Susie, Scott or one of their friendly employees.
Then tragedy struck. In early December 2019, Scott passed away suddenly leaving Susie’s world spiraling. Susie was completely broken-hearted - not knowing how to go on without her best friend and parter in life. But her family and faithful team rallied to support her and by mid-February they were starting to find a new normal for Master’s Hand.
Out of concern and care for the health of their tight-knit community, Susie made the extremely difficult decision to reduce hours and close the front doors of Master’s Hand. She kept a small handful of employees to handle take out luncheons and curbside pick up, but she was forced to cut hours and send others home indefinitely. “Her girls” were like family to her. The burden of wanting to give them work but not being able to and watching her cherished business bleed money day after day, all on top of the recent loss of her husband brought a deeper heaviness than she had ever experienced.
Just in time, a miracle came in the form of cookies. A few weeks earlier, before COVID-19, Kathy Mussack, one of the smiling faces at Master’s Hand, entered her cookies into the “Great American Sugar Cookie Show Down” hosted by Master’s Hand. The winner would be the featured Sugar Cookie at the shop and would hold some major bragging rights. It wasn’t even close. Kathy’s recipe won by a long shot!
Then, as everything was spiraling downward at the shop, Susie’s brother Todd Petersen had the miracle idea to sell Kathy’s award-winning sugar cookies with decorating supplies such as frosting and sprinkles to families who were cooped up at home.
The first day there were a few sales. By the middle of the week, the cookie kits had become so popular the website crashed from all the traffic. By that weekend, Susie was able to call back many of her furloughed employees because there were so many orders! The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and hope that the team could get through this together. They added shifts and every spare table and countertop in the 10,000 sq. ft. shop was put to good use to enable proper social distancing while they baked cookies, assembled the kits, and packed them to be shipped.
Soon that same buzz of excitement that was first felt at Master’s Hand, began to thrill family’s homes across the country as they found something fun to do together! Each kit has provided them with moments to slow down, reconnect, and restore relationships. The cookies are addictively delicious and the fun has been so contagious that people have been generously purchasing kits for friends and family members. In fact, the majority of the kits ordered are purchased by someone and sent to someone else. Now it’s become so much more than cookies - it’s become a movement of sending joy!
What started as an unbelievably sad story of loss, has turned into an extraordinary story of ingenuity, hope and “spreading kindness like confetti.” Susie’s very mission and heart behind her shop is now being accomplished all across the country in a way she never could have imagined. When so much in our world is upside down and full of uncertainty, the team at Master’s Hand has seen amazing support from their community and the extreme generosity and kindness of others.
…All because of a simple cookie.