My cousin Dot, living in Spanish Fort, sent me a clipping from the Mobile Press Register about a Sylacauga girl and her successful business in Homewood, Alabama, making and selling cookies at a shop called Cookie Fix. “Do you know her?” Dot asked, for Dot and I share the same grandmother as well as her love for cooking and making people smile when we share that cooking with them. It’s just cookies or cakes, but now we all know that making people smile is no small task in today’s stressful world. If God has given you a gift for that, please use it!!
Turns out I do know Amy Wright Jason because her parents were Dr. Jim Wright and his lovely wife, Villa Bentley Wright; and their children are Jim and Amy. In the South we are always making family connections, and Villa Bentley Wright and Martha Bentley Sims (Kenneth) were first cousins. Villa and Martha round out a trio of lovely, smart, talented women from Columbiana who attended Shelby County High School (where my Aunt Loretta George Head taught) and became outstanding citizens of Sylacauga, Beth Yates being the first. It is no small coincidence that Martha and Villa were community service oriented and both known for their expertise in cooking and flower arranging.
Amy’s Dad, Dr. James G. Wright grew up in Montgomery and graduated from Sydney Lanier High School in 1944. He joined the Marine Corp and fought at Iwo Jima, witnessing the raising of the American Flag on Mt. Suribachi. He received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in that battle. After the war, he graduated from Huntingdon College and the Medical College of Alabama. He received a NIH fellowship in Rheumatology and did his internship and residency at University Hospital. He was a staff physician at Craddock Clinic here from 1957-1987, practicing Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. Then he served as Staff Physician at the VA Hospital in Montgomery for 16 years. He is remembered as a kind and loving Christian man who served the Lord at First United Methodist Church as a teacher for the Hope Sunday School Class, a Steward, a Trustee, and was also active in Kairos, a prison outreach ministry. Dr. Wright died peacefully in his sleep in 2017. Villa passed in 2019.
When I finally met Amy, who brought her Cookie Fix wares to Magnolia’s for the Christmas Open House, I was blown away with her story and those yummy cookies. I was impressed how God is using her doing what she loves and learning how it all began right here in Sylacauga.
Unlike many of the whiners of today who blame their parents or their hometown for any failures in their own lives, Amy wanted to give credit to her parents, her school, SHS, and her church, First United Methodist, for the foundation upon which she lives her life as a wife (David) a mother of three, and successful entrepreneur. She grew up around good food, home-cooked dinners, not TV dinners, or fast-food, and started baking as a child at her mother’s side for something fun to do. She related what so many of that day repeat about growing up , “We did not eat out much. There were not that many places to go.” She was also inspired by the Pillsbury Bake-Off, cook books of the day that awarded cash prizes and trips for winning recipes. My Dad and I loved those books, too.
I connected again with Amy when she told me about her love for reading and her great memories of B.B. Comer Library, going there often. Her best memories of high school days included times with her friends Dabsey Mims, Jill Menzies, Beth Styres, and Susan Werling. The girls would meet at the Library, and walk down Broadway, window-shopping, and popping into the stores, all the way to Pasquale’s which was in the south end of the Jones Bakery building. Remember those pizzas?
Amy remembers fondly singing in the New World Choir at FUM when Buddy and Faye Simpkins were directors, and the fun and enrichment that organization provided. Amy Jason prepared herself well for the business world. After graduating from SHS in 1986, she went to the University of Alabama and got a degree in Business and Marketing. The shop location on 18th Street in downtown Homewood is near her first house as a newly-wed and also ties into her childhood memories of shopping in the quaint shops of Homewood with her Mom during her formative years in Sylacauga. A love of shopping as well as baking is something she acquired from her mother, she relates.
Essentially Amy’s story is a true Sylacauga story of growing up in a small town at a good time in a good family who valued God, country, family, and community. It is about a business that started as a hobby and now has two shop locations: 2854 18th St. S., Homewood and 3152 Cahaba Hts. Village. Amy has her first franchise in Huntsville. She has 80 rotating flavors of cookies, seasonal ones popular right now are ginger, cranberry, pumpkin, pecan, etc. She does catering for weddings, teas, parties, and ships cookies anywhere. I liked what she said , “ A cookie is not an indulgence, like chocolates, or cheesecake. It is an immediate gratification, and you can eat ½ or ½ dozen.” She sells her cookies in bags of one or two, in Kraft boxes, or my favorite, tins. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Amy Jason who grew up right here in our hometown, not so long ago at that. I will end with her own words: “ Cookie Fix’s success is all God and not me. Every day is a blessing. It’s all God because it’s just cookies!!”