Our Story

Wanda’s one woman cookie corporation began in 1996 after friends and family continually bragged about her baking and encouraged her to try selling her specialties commercially. Living in the home of her late grandparents, Connie and Sarah Nash, and maintaining horses and hay on the family’s 140-acre farm, she already had the perfect place to stage her cookie-making activities. A few years earlier, a tornado had nearly destroyed the farm’s historic barn, and in the rebuilding process Wanda decided to transform half of the structure – including the corn-crib and two stalls – into a canning kitchen.                

By selling her special cookies, Wanda thought making some extra money would help pay off the cost to renovate the barn, and the added income would supplement her home daycare business. “My grandfather farmed here all his life,” said Wanda. "It meant a lot to me to find a way to make a living on this farm, and it would mean a lot to him, too.”                

Coming up with a name for her business proved to be a challenge, says Wanda. But a middle-of-the-night epiphany inspired the idea to use a cherished childhood nickname given to Wanda by her two younger brothers, Charlie and Joey.

 “When my brothers were little they couldn’t say Wanda – they said ‘Dotta,’” she explained. “My middle name is Sue, so that’s what they called me growing up: ‘Dotta Sue.’ Those were some of the happiest times of my life, and I think it’s just appropriate that I put that name on all my cookies.”                

Her first customer was Ernie Veglio, owner of JB’s Express Mart, who gave Wanda a chance to sell her cookies on a display by the cash register. He says Dotta Sue’s were an immediate hit with his customers. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Ernie,” says Wanda. “He took a chance on me and tried them first.”                

As Dotta’s popularity grew, Wanda phased out her daycare and focused on making cookies full time turning out as many as 1100 a week. “It would be hard to give this up now,” she says. “If I ever had a claim to fame or some kind of lasting legacy, I guess its Dotta Sue’s. It’s really been a dream come true.”

(Adapted from the Tennesse Cooperator)