Boxed Cookies
Cate Basic founded Boxed Cookies in 2020 @boxedcookiesco via TikTok

According to the Government of Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in new business creation, with over 1,100 new businesses established in 2020.

"Many of these businesses didn't look like traditional small firms," the Committee on Small Business said in a statement. "As the pandemic drove commerce online, these new enterprises were primarily concentrated in the non-store, online retail sector... Young entrepreneurs dealt with a tough job market by pivoting towards entrepreneurship to develop businesses and products to serve their communities."

Cate Basic is among those who left their job post and started their own business in 2020.
In 2020, Basic founded her biscuit empire, Boxed Cookies. But, within two months of launching the company, Basic was hit with a public health complaint that penalised her for baking the cookies in her kitchen at home.

"Someone reported me to public health when I first started, but instead of giving up, I built my licensed bakery," the entrepreneur said in a video on TikTok.

While Basic said that she was unaware that baking the cookies in her home kitchen was a breach of rules, the entrepreneur revealed: "I felt so attacked. I remember crying on my kitchen floor, thinking, 'I don't know what to do – I don't know what to do'."

"I didn't have credentials, I didn't have money, I didn't have nearly a big enough following to make any big moves," she continued. "I just knew this couldn't be the end. I knew I had to think of something to keep going, even though I wanted to give up badly."

"So, from the lowest of my lows, my small bakery was born," Basic said, going on to explain that she spent three months filled with "stress and anxiety" while she was building a 300-square-foot kitchen in her basement.

Selling Homemade Goods to the Public in Canada

The regulations pertaining to the sale of foods to the public underwent a significant change in 2021. Previously, all food products intended for public consumption were required to be prepared in certified commercial kitchens.

However, the Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction in Canada introduced new guidelines aimed at allowing home cooks to market a limited selection of foods prepared in residential kitchens, with relaxed adherence to the standards applicable to commercial kitchens and restaurants.

This initiative was implemented to support small businesses amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the Health Protections and Promotion Act (HPPA) and Food Premises Regulation (FPR), it is now permissible to prepare and sell "low-risk" and non-hazardous food items that do not necessitate "time and temperature control."

The newly permissible items encompass a variety of products, including most breads and buns, a wide range of baked goods, chocolate, hard candies, pickles, jams, preserves, granola, trail mix, brownies, muffins, cookies, coffee beans, and tea leaves.

In contrast to the stringent regulations imposed on restaurants, the guidelines for new home-based food businesses are less stringent. For instance, these businesses are not mandated to have a separate sink designated solely for handwashing, and they are exempt from adhering to commercial dishwashing requirements.

Furthermore, home-based food businesses are not subject to food-handler training and certification, a requirement typically enforced for personnel in restaurant kitchens and commercial food operations.

Boxed Cookies
@boxedcookiesco via Instagram

"The Best Worst Thing That's Happened to Me"

Basic now manages Boxed Cookies and bakes the sweet goods from her basement bakery, which she has "licensed and inspected." It is "all thanks to that one person who reported me," the entrepreneur added. "It was the best worst thing that's happened to me."

Based in Niagara, Ontario, Canada, Boxed Cookies combines childhood snacks and favourite treats with cookie dough to form personalised cookies.

Boxed Cookies has gained a reputation in the neighbourhood for its unique and gourmet flavours, skillfully blending salty and sweet ingredients.

The assorted box of cookies costs customers $30 and features the brand's most popular flavours. The most popular flavours include caramilk crunch, chocolate s'moreos, funfetti dunkaroo, lemon cheesecake, Reese's swirl and salted caramel espresso.

Customers can get the cookies delivered for a fee of $5, or they can pick up their order for free.

One satisfied customer, Colton, shared his experience: "Every flavour Cate comes up with is unique and always excites you for your next order. The cookies are fantastic, and the customer service is top-notch. You haven't truly experienced a gourmet cookie until you've tried Boxed Cookies. Trust me, you'll be hooked."

Another returning buyer, Brad, wrote: "Seriously, the best cookies! They are soft, decadent and loaded with nostalgia. I can't stop ordering them!"