Stand close enough to Robin Wehl Martin, and you're sure to get the faintest whiff of brown sugar, spice and the wide-eyed optimism of a new business owner.
At least 8 hours a day, seven days a week, Robin is elbow deep in cookie dough. When she's not making cookies, she's thinking about them; hatching up unique ways to spice up her creations. Robin is the owner of the aptly named Hello Robin, the newest sweet spot on Capitol Hill.
"Naming this place was like naming a child," chuckles Robin. "I thought of 'Hello, Newman' from Seinfield, and I imagined that 'Hello, Robin' would be the first thing people would say when they walked in the door."
For the last three months, neighbors and cookie lovers have been chatting up Robin while indulging in everything from traditional cookies like chocolate chip, to unique recipes like coconut curry, habanero orange, Mackle'smore and the breakfast cookie, made of carrots, oats, breakfast cereal, apricots and orange juice.
Sound a little strange?
Robin's husband Clay Martin (who also happens to be the store guinea pig), says he was as skeptical as they come, but with every creation he is surprisingly impressed.
"I eat cookies for breakfast," says Clay. "These cookies are more human size. Like the size your mother used to make, so you can get more of them and not feel guilty."
Hello Robin is part of a block of new development on Capitol Hill's 19th Avenue East. The store is in the company of four other shops including Tallulah's, Derschang's Smith and Oddfellows and The Herbalist, a homeopathic shop set to open soon.
Robin is still in awe that her store sits with a team of other entrepreneurs. As a mother of three, business ownership was not part of the plan. The idea came from her friend, Molly Moon Neitzel, the creator of Molly Moon Ice Cream. The two met after exchanging backyard chickens with each other. As a thank you, Robin made Molly a batch of cookies. A personal and business relationship bloomed.
"This summer our front window will become a walk up Molly Moon ice cream counter," says Robin.
Customers of Hello Robin can currently purchase pints of Molly Moon.Hello Robin is one of the only "cookie" only bakeries in town, and so far Robins says business is booming.
So, is it safe to say cookies are the new cupcakes? Robin shies away from that statement.
"I don't want to say that because I really love the owners of the cupcake shops in town. Cookies are just classic. Your grandma made cookies, and your kids will be making cookies. There's room for all of us."