Of all the growing pains that come with running a business, the Hozie sisters never imagined the most difficult would be having to spend time apart.
These days, while Christa Hozie oversees the sisters’ Brown Butter Cookie Co. in Cayucos, Traci Hozie is usually two blocks down, immersed in their newest venture, the Cass House boutique hotel.
“It’s strange for us — we used to be like this,” said Christa, her two index fingers pressed firmly together. But the two still find time to connect, sometimes stealing a few minutes to talk business during a car ride or over lunch. As always, their collaborations “come with a lot of ease,” said Christa, who believes their synergy is the key to a successful business relationship that has spanned more than 15 years.
Their most famous venture centers around a shortbread cookie, chewy yet meltingly delicate and sprinkled with sea salt. This “brown butter cookie” began simply, as one of several confections offered at the Little Market gourmet deli, owned by the sisters and Traci’s former husband. They put out samples and were astounded when customers snapped them up by the dozen — or more. “They would say, ‘We will take everything you are baking today,’ ” recalled Christa.
Buoyed by this enthusiasm, the sisters launched a website in 2008 and began shipping nationwide. A year later, they converted their deli into a full-time cookie operation.