|Image from the Express Cookies facebook page|
Darren was working in his trade as a carpenter when just over three years ago he decided to seek a new career.
He set up a home-based business, Express Cookies, distributing tasty treats supplied by a Victorian factory.
Darren is now known as “the cookie man” as he travels around south-east Queensland delivering to cafes and restaurants.
His typical working day starts early with trips between Redcliffe, Kingscliff and Ipswich on his schedules.
“It's still just a small business but growing each week and getting to the stage where it will need dedicated premises somewhere,” he says.
Darren says the offer of a free sample pack to restaurants and cafes has helped business growth.
A colourful notice in the Classifieds has announced a new era for Express Cookies, offering Mother's Day baskets containing 10 wrapped 'monster cookies' and either a candle or a coffee mug, with delivery on the Redland mainland.
Darren conducted a trial of a themed promotion at Easter selling similar baskets, complete with bunny.
Encouraged by the response, he plans to market cookies for other occasions on the cultural calendar and offer personalised baskets for birthdays and anniversaries.
Darren expects a busy weekend, also attending Redland Bay markets on Sunday.
Cookie vendors may have an insight into dietary habits. Darren says trade ebbs during summer but rises in autumn.
“As it cools down people drink more coffee and that goes with cookies, muffins and things like that,” he says.
While most Redlanders bemoaned this week's cold snap, Darren could rub his hands in anticipation of brisk trade. After growing up in the South Australian inland he can handle the chill.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the young carpenter's arrival in the Redlands during his travels, stopping first at a Capalaba van park.
His hometown of Woomera was no match for our bayside. “I just fell in love with the place,” he says.
Darren first settled at Wellington Point and he says he has no plans to move from Victoria Point, which has been a good base for his business.
“The cookie man” sometimes has helpers on his rounds – his wife Nicole and their teenage son, Dolton, who enjoys travelling with his dad, and of course has inherited his parents' love of fishing at daybreak with feet in the Straddie sand.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.