‘Burg Built: Katie O’Beirne makes St. Pete sweeter with Katie’s Fine Cookies

‘Burg Built: Katie O’Beirne makes St. Pete sweeter with Katie’s Fine Cookies

Katie’s Fine Cookies has served St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region inventive custom cookies for years, and the person behind the baking, Katie O’Beirne, is emblematic of the small business boom in the ‘Burg. The header photo of Katie’s Fine Cookies owner Katie O’Beirne was taken by Kindall Edwards. 

If you’ve visited a local market in the Sunshine City, or paid a visit to spots like Bodega, Intermezzo, Squeeze Juice Works or Green Light Cinema, you’ve no doubt come across Katie’s Fine Cookies. These vibrant confections are a standout favorite amongst St. Pete residents, and no, they are not your average chocolate chip cookies.

O’Beirne can funnel decades of childhood nostalgia into a perfectly pulled bit of dough.

Cookie varieties include:

  • Toffee + Shortbread
  • Miso + Buttered Toasted Sesame Seeds + Chocolate Chunk
  • Triple Chocolate with White Chunks + Dark Chunks + Rich Cocoa
  • Golden Turmeric Mylk
  • Horchata + Cinnamon + White Chocolate Chunk
  • Crushed Pop Tart + Sprinkles Shortbread 

That hardly scratches the surface of this enchanting menu. Visit the online cookie store for a full look at the super sweet offerings.

This isn’t all that Katie’s Fine Cookies has to offer. O’Beirne recently became a supplier of the West Coast-based It’s It ice cream bars. This San Francisco legend came about in 1928, and it is 100% the summer camp ice cream sandwich of your dreams.

This ‘Burg Built business is a prime example of why you should invest your money and attention locally. Below, see our candid (virtual) correspondence with the city’s own cookie connoisseur.

Follow Katie’s Fine Cookies on Instagram, and shop the entire cookie menu on the online cookie store.

Is there anything you wish you knew before launching your company?

You have to allow yourself to delegate tasks, especially the ones you simply hate doing. The dreadful tasks may not be so dreadful to someone else! I have consistently struggled with the idea of relinquishing control. My brand is small. There are three of us, including myself. And it has been this way for a while — all my choosing.

Delegating is very necessary. You have to consistently find ways to optimize each person’s impact on the brand, or the mission, or whatever it is you are trying to come together for. In this case, it is my hyper-small business. Your team should have some element of collective ally-ship! If that collaborative energy is missing, it is just all wrong! You hear this in some degree with business owners of all sizes across all industries.

When did you first launch Katie’s Cookies, and did you ever see yourself as a small business owner?

This is a very good question. I have always enjoyed the concept of ownership, and of taking & maintaining accountability. I hold myself to high standards with my food products: taste, aesthetics, freshness, quality, connection, creativity, exploration, fun and lightness! Really pushing and grinding for what’s around the corner. Being the owner means I am allowed to explore! As long as the other ducks are lined up. I can only see myself being a small business owner if that means I am still given permission to consistently create, invent, explore with childlike curiosity, and laugh along the way. I want to continue to be a small business owner if I am truly proud of what I am producing.

How has the pandemic impacted your business? How was the transition to the online cookie shop?

The Online Cookie Store was born as a result of COVID-19. I created the Online Cookie Store as a partial-replacement of the in-person Market Series that are so crucially helpful for small business owners. It has been a beneficial transition for me to offer e-commerce.

The in-person Markets serve as an excellent opportunity to meet folks and supporters — and to remember that food (SWEETS!) serve as a special bonding experience between the maker and the consumer.

However, the Online Cookie Store has been a true gift: Predictability, seamlessness, temperature-controlled environments, streamlined organization, and more. Its experimental element is helpful, too. I can keep a very close eye on what people like, and what might have to be trimmed away. In-person Markets offer a vast amount of feedback/promotion/sales, too. However: e-commerce is delightfully fun.

I love to learn about rituals. Do you [have any rituals] or listen to music when you bake, if so, what are you listening to right now?

I love rituals, too! Rituals and rhythms keep my mind focused. My physical movements intentional! The first thing I grab on bake-days is an apron. Simple. As soon as I put one over my head, it sets the “reason” and the focus for the day. With an apron, I’m not afraid to make a mess and I’m not afraid to go hard. In many respects!

Podcasts: How I Built This with Guy Raz. The Moth Radio Hour. Dan Savage. Marc Maron! ALL THE WAY!

Music: Freddie Gibbs, MF DOOM. Or Afro-beat. Let’s get moving! And last but not least, a “big hot bad boy to go” from Bandit Coffee Co; (this is just a black coffee).

Do you have a favorite place to hang out in St. Pete?

Before the pandemic: Munch’s. It is what it is. It is just… so Florida.
Now: Cappy’s Pizza — take a pie to the beach for sunset! Catch a breeze.
I also love to ride my bicycle through Driftwood at golden hour.
Flying a kite at Lassing.
Walking along the water at North Shore Park is incredibly relaxing.

If you weren’t baking cookies in St. Pete, what else could you see yourself doing?

I have a background in Early Childhood Education. I was a Kindergarten teacher before venturing off to start my brand. Education will always be very meaningful part of who I am — and I think of transitioning back to teaching somewhat often. This background is what encourages me to be childlike and curious in my own small business ownership. But then… I hear the oven timer buzzing… and I remember that I have to get those cookies out quickly before they burn! I have to deliver those cookies to the wonderful folks of St. Petersburg and greater Tampa Bay!

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