Article by Donna McCord
Los Altos Town Crier
June 13, 2001


Sticking to It

    Starting any business presents a challenge that calls for courage, determination and a lot of energy. Meet Alice Larse, a lifelong resident of Los Altos, who at age 70, could give Mrs. Fields a run for her money with a mouth-watering recipe she calls "Alice's Stick Cookies"
    "These cookies are made with high quality, natural ingredients. Since we don't use eggs, nuts or peanut oil, they're safe for people with those allergies." Larse said. "Their form is similar to biscotti, but they don't taste anything like biscotti."
    So, what do they taste like? Rich buttery and with a hint of toffee flavor, they have a delicate, moist texture that literally melts in your mouth.
    Until now, Larse has only baked these scrumptious cookies for her family and friends.
    "It's a recipe I first got from a friend and have modified over the years," she said.
    "These cookies are a holiday tradition in our family, and I always bring them to our church social events."
    After years of urging from her husband and four children, she's decided to make the cookies available to the public through selected food stores.
    Alice credits her son David for giving her that extra "push" to bring her cookies to market. He took the liberty of bringing a cookie sample to the bakery manager at Draeger's Market in Los Altos while she was on vacation.
    Draeger's enthusiastic response convinced Alice to join the entrepreneurial world. So far, the business is growing quickly, and Alice is busy.
    "My son's long time lady friend, Sally Upton, is partnering with me, and we're having a great time making the business grow," Larse said.
    The two ladies joined forces to research the do's and don'ts of starting a new business.
    Larse created the package design, and both of them learned through trial and error how difficult it be to produce quality packaging at a reasonable cost.
    Larse admitted there's a lot to know about running a business, and advised anyone considering such an adventure to "take small steps at a time" and "don't give up!"
    When asked how she feels about starting this business at a time in life when most people prefer to retire, Larse's eyes lit up.
    "It's a challenge," she said. "I've always been active doing volunteer work in the community, especially involving outreaches to the homeless and working in a volunteer restaurant. This is bringing a whole new dimension to my life."
    She doesnąt plan to abandon her volunteer work, but says that learning new things every day, and watching the business grow and become successful is rewarding.
    She hopes the business continues to grow and is committed to keeping Alice's Stick Cookies a family-run, high-quality business.
    Alice's Stick Cookies are being sold here in Los Altos at Draeger's, Andronico's Market and The Gift Basket.
    Larse and Upton are looking to expand distribution to the North and East Bay first, then wherever the demand takes them.