Columbus business finds sweet way to succeed during pandemic

In This Together

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– One local business launched only a few months before the pandemic hit, and while a lot of restaurants have closed their doors and local businesses shut down, Lion Cub’s is thriving.

“December of 2018 I just started baking out of no where. I got this sweet tooth out of no where and I realized I would rather my cookie be the size of a baseball,” explained Brad Kaplan.

Kaplan, who recently graduated with his MBA from Ohio State University, had an idea to sell cookies. But these are not your average cookies.

“No one is doing the premium big cookies in Ohio right now,” he said.

He found the concept, created his business and finally found the perfect name — Lion Cub’s Cookies.  

“I was struggling to come up with a name for a long time,” noted Kaplan. “My dad called me when I was a kid, lion cub.”

He spent the entire month of November testing cookies and finally started selling in March of 2020.  Once he heard about COVID-19 and the stay at home order was issued, like any new business owner, he got worried. He knew he was fortunate in a way because the business was so small at the time and didn’t have a lot of overhead costs.

“Everything changed when my employees came in and talked to me and told me they lost their jobs, so I was forced to do things a little differently. I can’t just wait this out because that doesn’t help them at all.”

He quickly realized the only way to stay afloat and keep his employees on payroll was to start a delivery service. He started the process manually and would have people send in orders and cluster some of the deliveries together.

After a few weeks he found some technology that eliminated the human element and created more efficiency.

He knew this would be a lot of work so he in turn had to hire more staff to get all the deliveries done. Kaplan says right now they are making nearly 2,000 cookies a week.

“I was surprised by how fast it caught on and I’m certainly surprised about how much people are willing to support a local business right now because I thought purse strings would be tight,” explained Kaplan. “I think that says a lot about Columbus. Columbus really rallies around their local businesses more than other communities.”

Lion Cub’s is one of the businesses in the food industry that has seen a major increase in business during this uncertain time.

He says there are ways other small businesses can start to rebound now. He knows its a difficult time but small businesses are at an advantage and can use what they have to be a little flexible in the short term.

“Because you’re small all you have to do is spend the time and think what the solution could be. The answer to a lot of people is lets just shut down. They should look at it from what are the possibilities right now and chase each avenue,” explained Kaplan.

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