I, Kat, come from a long line of wonderfully talented bakers and chefs. My grandfather, Italian immigrant Francesco Divizia, owned two Italian restaurants in Southern California. My grandmothers, Rosemary and Jamie, as well as my mother, Josephine, were amazing bakers. As a young girl, I remember the wonderful smell of delicious cookies baking in their homes. They were beautifully lined up in perfect rows waiting to be enjoyed by all. The thumbprint and snowball cookies were my favorites. These wonderful family traditions instilled within me my love of baking and is where my story began.
It wasn’t until I became a mother myself in rural Oklahoma that I too began baking cookies. as a way to celebrate special occasions. Using only modest equipment, The Original, a white chocolate and milk chocolate pecan cookie was developed in our kitchen and was requested at every celebration by family and friends. “Barbee Cookies are here!” someone would yell as we entered with dozens of delicious cookies in hand. Often, these same people would also say, “Kat, you really need to open a bakery.” Little did I know I would and that my future business partner, Kelli Stacy (who I hadn’t yet met) was from a town only thirty minutes away!
In 1999 my family relocated to Tulsa. We had our beautiful children, Christian and Hallee, a truckload of belongings and our first Kitchen Aid mixer we received as a going away gift from friends. We quickly made many wonderful new friends, among them Kelli and Deemer Stacy, who had also moved to the Tulsa area. We introduced them to Barbee Cookies (having no idea we would later join forces!) The word spread like wild fire that we had something special.
A few years later, at my women’s Bible study, something very special happened that only God could orchestrate! After sharing with this group of very talented ladies my desire to earn a little extra money baking my cookies for the holidays, many wanted to help, including Kelli Stacy who was part of the group. With a wonderful cookie and her business sense, a great partnership was formed! Within months, our bakery was built and we were in business.
The real magic began in the Barbee kitchen when my daughter, Hallee, began baking with me at age 15. It was there that she developed several new cookie recipes, including the cinnamon roll cookie which she made for her brother and his friends. I laugh when I think back to her question. “Mama, do you think we can sell this cookie in the bakery?” Now, Hallee’s cinnamon roll cookie is by far our best-selling cookie and is shipped to cookie lovers all over North America!
We have been honored to celebrate life with thousands of people for over twenty years and since opening the bakery in 2010. We love and appreciate our loyal customers and are extremely proud to serve cookies to our guests that are artfully designed, have a celebration of flavor and a gift in every bite.
The future is bright for Barbee Cookies! We are excited about our growth with the guidance of nationally known entrepreneur and business coach, Clay Clark. We also believe strongly in God’s Word. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
“I’m grateful to my family who instilled the love of God and baking in me and look forward to leaving the same legacy to my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” Kat Graham
Kat Graham and Kelli Stacy, co-owners