For a while now, Tank Goodness cookies has been one of the better best-kept secrets in the Twin Cities bakery world.
Their progressive business model — hashed out during a family vacation in Italy — calls for doorstep delivery of homemade, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies and milk. The business has seen so much growth since it began in December 2003, that the mom-and-pop-team of Anna and Dennis Tank are seriously considering licensing the idea (and secret recipe) to others.
“We kind of know it’s time to grow this business,” said Dennis Tank May 19. “We can’t continue the way we are.”
The couple bases their cookie co-op out of Michelangelo’s Pizza at 50th Street
& Xerxes Avenue.
Dennis, 46, a former information technology specialist and marathoner, and his wife Anna, 48, a former schoolteacher, have turned an idea into a full-time profession.
If the couple’s plan to license their business model and expand it across the country works out, Dennis and Anna will take a step back from the bakery and teach others how to “spread the goodness.”
“We’ve researched the franchise world, and we don’t think it is for us,” Dennis said. “We do think that licensing the concept and brand for a very inexpensive amount would give [entrepreneurs] the tools to make a significant revenue stream.”
Anna does 80 percent of the baking, and writes personalized messages in calligraphy that accompany each batch Dennis delivers in their Mini Cooper, which now has well over 100,000 miles on it. The business has seen steady growth, serving some 4,000 clients.
Anna bakes, on average, 40 dozen batches of chocolate chip cookies each day.
While their current business model works well, they are outgrowing their space. Tank Goodness has plans to soon move their operation — most likely to a more logistically central space in Downtown’s Warehouse District. That move would put them a few miles further from their Tangletown home, Dennis said, but closer to their best clients — corporate America.
“Today, our business is 99 percent customer/client appreciation, it’s really corporate,” Dennis said. “The holidays get absolutely crazy for us.”
Tank Goodness cookies are so popular in the business world that, each November, they change their voicemail to an away message, and begin to bake solely for their corporate customers.
The Tanks have also attracted attention from foreign and domestic venture capitalists, and recently their business model has been the subject of a semester’s worth of study at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
While family has always been a focus for the Tanks, Dennis said taking less time baking and more time making family connections is important. The couple has two sons — Sam, a South High School junior, and Jake, 12.
The Tanks are excited to see what might become of their cookie enterprise.
“Part of Tank Goodness is a crazy story because we took a giant leap of faith and it is going to get crazier,” Dennis said.