Incubator Kitchen Spotlight: Jen’s Cookie Jar

Posted on June 7, 2018 by Downtown Market

Jennifer Machiele was worried about starting a business at this point in her life. She asked herself, is it too late to take the next step? Luckily, with overwhelming support from her husband, children and friends, she launched Jen’s Cookie Jar in spring of 2018. She now creates her delicious baked goods in our Incubator Kitchen.

“I’ve always dreamed of owning a bakery but it seemed more like a fairytale than reality,” said Machiele. “I really didn’t think it was attainable for me.”

Machiele has always wowed her family with her baking skills, but the dream of opening her own shop started when she was a child. Her great Grandmother owned a bakery out of her home in Muskegon, Mich. where Machiele would often play with the supplies and pretend she was running the show. She loved baking with her grandma and uses her recipes today.

Machiele attained her associate’s degree in liberal arts from Grand Rapids Community College and also took culinary courses. She went on to work at local restaurants like Louis Benton Steak House and Charlie’s Crab. Machiele currently works for Grand Rapids Public Schools at Lincoln school, overseeing their culinary efforts as the Kitchen Manager.

Even with her impressive resume, Machiele says that she still faces challenges as a new business owner. 

“There’s been a learning curve,” said Machiele. “Creating mass recipes, scaling ingredients, and perfecting packaging are all new tasks I am challenged with.”

Despite the new challenges, Machiele beams with excitement and passion when she speaks about her business. She is shy to promote her goods, but her daughter and business consultant in training, Rachel, is quick to help promote her mother.

“I take photos of her cookies and baked goods and put them on Facebook,” said Rachel. “I want everyone to see all of her hard work.”

Machiele found out about our Incubator Kitchen through Facebook and knew that using our space would help her launch her dream business.

“I work full time and my daughter is home-schooled so my baking hours are not always the same, said Machiele. “I love that the Incubator Kitchen at the Downtown Market is open 24 hours. It makes scheduling much easier.”

Machiele hopes to open a brick and mortar location someday and she is off to a great start. Her ideal space would have a couple of tables where customers can spend time relaxing or enjoying conversation with friends. As her orders keep growing and she attains catering contracts, she keeps moving forward to reaching that goal. 

“I’m always telling my kids to just go for it and I’ve finally listened to my own advice,” said Machiele. “I believe that everyone has a support system somewhere, I found that in my family. They are very proud of me.”

Learn more about Jen’s Cookie Jar here.