Wharton: Making gourmet cookies in Davis County
Bountiful • Like many family-owned businesses, Cutler's Cookies and Sandwiches began with a simple idea.
Sandra Cutler wanted to start a small business in 1979 that would sell homemade bread and cookies. She opened the first store at Bountiful's Five Points Mall. Four years later, the family-run operation moved to the town's Main Street, offering sandwiches and salads in addition to cookies.
These days, Sandra's three sons Curt, Matt and Scott, their wives and even some of their children operate the small, locally owned chain's three Davis County stores in Bountiful, Layton and Centerville. In many ways, they have become a local institution. Dad Richard is also actively involved.
It might be a natural assumption to think that the 15 varieties of cookies that include treats such as chocolate chip, brownie marshmallow, lemon meltaway, peanut butter and brownie mint came from recipes passed down from generation to generation.
That according to Curt Cutler who operates the Bountiful store and makes about 1,000 cookies in a typical day is not the case. He had worked for a Woods Cross bakery so had some experience in the business. He and Sandra started with a few basic recipes, which they worked hard to perfect.
He said he and other family members decide on a flavor of cookie such as the popular oatmeal butterscotch and then experiment with different ingredients until "we think its perfect."
"There isn't anybody out there that can make cookies like me," said Curt, who usually starts his baking day at around 6 a.m. "They are completely scratch made, and completely handmade. I could give [other people] the recipes, and they couldn't make it happen."
The other mainstay at the stores is the turkey avocado sandwich, a lunch item that Curt says "keeps the roof overhead."
The family got the idea when visiting the little grocery store at Snowbird, probably 35 years ago. The store offered a turkey avocado sandwich and the Cutlers went about perfecting it. It now competes with a sandwich called the B-Town Club, on a toasted ciabatta bread with mesquite turkey, bacon, Muenster cheese, lettuce and tomato.
The family notices ebbs and flows in its business as new franchises open in bustling Layton, Centerville and Bountiful.
"We feel it at first, then [business] comes back," explained Curt. "When a new thing comes to town, people go and try it. A portion of that never comes back. But the last few months were the best we've had in the last few years."
The shops have provided employment over the years for dozens of Davis County youths. Five of Nancy and Curt Cutler's children have worked at some point or the other. They can see a fourth generation of Cutlers perhaps operating the business.
"We've had hundreds of awesome kids work for us who we just love," said Curt. "We've had 10 marriages come from relationships here, and there hasn't been a divorce yet. The community keeps handing us awesome kids to work for us. We just love them, know them and become friends forever. Missionaries come back here. Sometimes this is their first, second and third jobs."
And the Cutler family remains close, usually getting together at their parents' house for Sunday dinner, a time when the brothers, mom and dad and their wives seldom, if ever, talk about work.