Alison Bermack (left)
and one of her many
LARRY GUYER, ALA CARTE DIGITAL
SOME OF PATRICIA GRIFFITH’S fondest memories
are of dinners spent at her grandmother’s. Now the
Pittsburg, California, mother of two is sharing the
flavors and aromas of old-fashioned baked goods
with the masses through her line of Southern Oven
Ten years ago Griffith was looking for a way to
contribute to her household income. After friends
raved about her cooking, she began selling monkey
bread pull-apart rolls at farmers markets in the San
Francisco Bay Area. Griffith was soon selling her
wares—monkey bread, caramel pecan pie, sweet
potato pie, lemon chess pie and chocolate chess
pie—at retail locations up and down the coast.
She credits Costco with being an integral part
Patricia Griffith (above)
and her delectable breads
and pies have attracted
celebrities such as Donny
Osmond and Stevie Wonder.
of her company’s continued success.
“As a small vendor, we didn’t meet the
quantity minimums to obtain a good purchase
price from food-service organizations for our
raw materials,” Griffith says. “As an Executive
Member, I am able to order online, have materials
delivered weekly and receive 3 percent of my
yearly purchases back in a cashier’s check [True
Earnings Rebate] every March.”
“I use the Kirkland [Signature™] brand of pure
vanilla and tender pecans for my award-winning
caramel pecan pie,” she continues. “I have also used
Costco’s chicken and catfish for high-profile catering
events for recording artist Stevie Wonder and
Congresswoman Barbara Lee.”—Linda Childers
68 ;e Costco Connection FEBRUARY 2010
TEN YEARS AGO, Jennifer
Melton and Brennan Johnson
adopted an adorable puppy they
named Samantha. But the dog
had a not-so-adorable problem.
“She was constantly itching
and scratching,” recalls Melton.
“She ended up being kind of
sickly. I did a lot of research and
found that dogs, just like people,
could have allergies.” ;e pair of
San Luis Obispo, California,
Costco members put Samantha on
an elimination diet to determine
what she was allergic to. Within a
month or so, she became healthy
When the two started
making their own dog food and
sold homemade treats at a
dog-shelter fundraising event,
they were besieged by calls from
people wanting to buy more.
WHEN ALISON BERMACK, a Costco
member in Montclair, New Jersey,
became a mom in 1998, she couldn’t
envision just sitting around. “I mean,
we were in the kitchen already,”
recalls Bermack. “So why not get
That something was cooking.
Bermack, 38, a former marketing
executive, is the founder of the
Cooking with Friends Club
an online community that offers
advice on how friends can make
When their children were young,
Bermack and her friends made large
batches of homemade baby food. As
the kids got older, these stay-at-home
moms-cum-chefs graduated to more
“grown-up” food, such as chicken
tenders and lentil soup. Now
Bermack gets together with friends
at least once a week to make
everything from spring rolls to pesto
sauce to biscotti.
Bermack embraces the notion of
cooking with others for two reasons:
It allows her to serve her family
wholesome, homemade meals, and it
allows her to spend time with her
Brennan Johnson, Jennifer
Melton and their pets.
Johnson said, “I think we can
make a business out of this.”
;eir company, Cloud Star
started in 1999 with just the two
of them, now employs more
than 100 people.
Cloud Star products are sold
at health food, pet supply, grocery
and gi; stores across the country,
as well as online and occasionally
at select Costco warehouses.
Ten percent of all pro;ts go
to organizations that support
women, children, the environment and, of course, pets.
We want to hear from you!
IF YOU HAVE a note, photo
or story to share about Costco or Costco
members, e-mail it to connection@
costco.com with “The Member Connection”
in the subject line or send it to “The
Member Connection,” The Costco
Connection, P.O. Box 34088, Seattle, WA
98124-1088. Submissions cannot be
acknowledged or returned.