Rolling in the dough: CPA is cookie truck entrepreneur

Written on Jan 30, 2020

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern

When Steve Kotris, CPA, was inspired to buy a food truck, he “rolled with it.”

The idea to start what’s now known as the Cleveland Cookie Dough Company came to Kotris and his wife, Vicki, during a trip to New York to watch the Cleveland Indians play the New York Yankees. They stumbled upon an edible cookie dough place and thought to themselves, “Wow, this is a really cool idea. Does Cleveland have something like this?

iheartcookiedough“Fast forward a little bit, we bought a food truck,” he said.

After spending the summer of 2018 taste testing and trying different recipes, they officially launched their truck, now known throughout Cleveland as Chip, in November 2018.

“November is pretty much the worst time to start a food truck business in Cleveland,” Kotris said. But when the weather warmed up in May, business began booming .

As a CPA, Kotris said he is accustomed to putting in the many hours of work it takes to be successful. But as with any transition, it has come with a learning curve. For example, owning a food truck means doing dishes, mopping the floors and other day-to-day tasks someone in an office might not have to do. 

“You need to be ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard,” he said. “One of the things my wife always says is ‘don’t quit your day job and don’t quit your daydreaming.’”

However, he said the challenges are worth it when he meets a customer who went out of their way to taste their cookie dough.

“It’s a really cool feeling to produce a product that people are willing to travel across the state to try,” he said.

Kotris said being a CPA played a role in turning his idea into a business.

“Having the financial expertise has definitely been helpful,” he said. “In addition, just dealing with banks, trying to get some financing and having that CPA credential is automatically beneficial.”

Right now, Chip can be found at various events throughout northeast Ohio.

“We also do corporate catering,” Kotris said. “We’ve done a few events with CPA firms where it’s a fun treat, something different for you to bring in for busy season to treat your employees.”

As the Cleveland Cookie Dough Company continues to grow, Kotris plans to spend 2020 travelling around northeast Ohio, coming up with new dessert ideas and even taking the company one step further by opening an ice cream and cookie dough shop in their neighborhood. Throughout this whole experience, Kotris says his favorite aspect has been collaborating with local businesses and meeting new people.

“It’s a really strong community,” he said. “Everyone in Cleveland was really helpful and willing to offer advice and give a hand when you need help.”

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  1. Joan Murtaugh | Feb 04, 2020
    Congratulations on your hard work, expertise, and success. 

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