Pacific Northwest Cookie Company: Finding Sweetness and Success by Choosing Local First


Some people and businesses talk about #ChooseLocalFirst and others create success by it. That is the story behind the Pacific Northwest Cookie Company and the partnerships they built with the attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno.

For the Carpenter family, it all began with their cookie recipe. Everyone deserves a delicious cookie, but some family and friends suffer from food allergies and intolerances. To date, they couldn’t find a cookie that was gluten-free, vegan, and delicious to eat. With their family recipe and pride on the line, they set out to change the cookie world.

“My brother, when he turned 30, he became extremely intolerant to gluten and dairy, and so when that happened all of us realized about a year later there wasn’t anything that he could eat that was a baked treat that actually tasted good,” said Callie Carpenter. 

She said her brother would bring some of the baked goods he would eat and it was tasteless, with a texture starkly not like a chewy cookie.

“We decided we needed to try and change it, and that’s what we did,” she said.

In 2018, the newly formed Pacific Northwest Cookie Company entered the Smart Tank competition held by the Lewis Economic Development Council and Centralia College Foundation, in partnership with Moonshot at NACET, the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Just like the famous television show Shark Tank, companies pitched ideas, input and advice from judges, who included various industry experts on how to start or accelerate business/ideas.

One such judge was local Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorney, Lewis Economic Development Council board member, and Centralia College Foundation President Peter Abbarno.

“Pacific Northwest Cookie Company pitched the judges their idea for a gluten-free vegan cookie and my immediate response was, ‘I don’t want another cardboard tasting cookie,’” said Abbarno. “Then I tasted the cookie and I was shocked at how delicious it was. I immediately got excited and passionate to help Callie and the Carpenter family.”

Pacific Northwest Cookie Company earned third-place honors, which included a one-year business mentorship from Moonshot at NACET. Believing the company could be a huge success with a little extra local support, Abbarno offered free legal and business support from Althauser Rayan Abbarno and their team of attorneys.

“We are always excited to help local businesses, young professionals, and entrepreneurs in our community to be successful,” Abbarno said. “We work with and represent a lot of local businesses. I knew right away that this will be a great partnership and we worked on contracts, insurance issues, leases, scaling, building local relationships, and other business related issues.”

During the time since Pacific Northwest Cookie Company was on Smart Tank to today, the cookie sales and distribution has expanded from Oregon to Bellingham, and to almost 100 places in between. The company has worked with local companies such as Avenue Espresso (Centralia, Rochester, Tumwater, Olympia and Chehalis), Jimmies Espresso (Centralia and Chehalis), Bayview Thriftway, Blanton’s Market IGA, Western Coffee Company and Café in Tenino, and so many more.

“The first time I met Peter it was at the competition,” Carpenter said. “He said ‘I’m going to help take your startup and turn it into a business. Call me Monday.’ I couldn’t believe it. We were so appreciative.”

Abbarno’s firm went into action.

“He was so kind,” she said. “We went in there thinking we were so stupid, and Peter was so gracious. He listened to our story, he listened to what we had done so far to start our business, and he guided us on the next steps we needed to do. He was amazing and a huge relief.”

Carpenter believes there is a right way and a wrong day to approach business, and she said Peter is that exact same way.

“I can’t say enough good things about Peter,” she said. “He was one of our first main supporters — extremely foundational in getting us started and rooted in our community.”

Since 1946, Althauser Rayan Abbarno has represented individuals and businesses in this community and throughout the state of Washington, said Todd Rayan, partner with Althauser Rayan Abbarno. Learn more Althauser Rayan Abbarno legal services at their Olympia and Centralia offices by visiting

“Pacific Northwest Cookie Company shares many of the same values as our law firm, including building relationships with our partners, customers and clients,” Rayan said. “It is a great fit.” Learn more about Pacific Northwest Cookie Company at

Stay tuned for the upcoming 2020 Smart Tank hosted by the Lewis Economic Development Council and Centralia College Foundation. Learn more about the EDC Smart Tank by visiting and the Centralia College Foundation at