Grandma’s Cookies in downtown St. Charles Missouri started out as a small business, in a small kitchen, within a small community, and today has become known throughout the world with visitors coming from all over the globe each year. But what many don’t know about the building in which it sits and how the business itself started are worth mentioning as much as the delicious goodness that is baked daily.
The property was purchased in 1818 and the building was built in 1820. Since then, it served as a rectory for St.Charles Borromeo church, as well as an armory. During the early years of the rectory, it was often used as an overnight stay for traveling priests that we headed west to open new parishes throughout the United States. The property behind the building once were the homes of the original Borromeo church and cemetery. Today, there sits a replica church behind the building for visitors to see.
The property was purchased by Charlotte Thompson. She lived in one side of the building, where she made dresses and clothes to be sold in the other side of the building. Besides stitching, she also loved to bake. She came up with an idea to bake cookies and give them free to children who came in with their parents to shop. The word began to spread on how great the cookies were and customers encouraged her to begin selling them. So, she decided to give it a shot and on weekends would have her grandchildren sell them out her kitchen window located between her building and the building next door. It didn’t take long for the aroma of fresh baked cookies to travel down the street and lure in customers. There wasn’t much room between the buildings, but customers would gather and line-up for these one-of-a-kind cookies. After a while, the sales from the cookies began to surpass the sales from the clothing store, so Grandma Charlotte Thompson decided to close down the store and open Grandma’s Cookies in 1976. The business relocated into a private bakery and was run by Charlotte’s daughter Nancy Ginnever after Grandma retired in 2000. The building was then rented to a craft store. Nancy’s niece, Theresa Rubio, took over the business several years later and reopened Grandma’s Cookies in 2010 in the original location that Grandma Thompson had her business for 24 years.
Customers today continue to enjoy the same recipes and hand-made treats that began decades ago..