"When you spend 45 years doing something, eventually you've got to get it right."
So says Susan Simms, whose cookie-making experience may well put her up in the ranks with the Keebler elves.
For 14 years now, Simms has operated a cottage industry called Susan's Cookie Stop out of her Westport garage. Through satisfied word-of-mouth customers, she's garner a considerable local following. Thanks to her new website, however, more business may be imminent.
"Now that I have a website, I'm doing a lot more business," she said, crediting her daughter with implementing the technology.
Still, Simms is not going to complicate the recipe that's served her so well all this time -- literally and figuratively.
"I only do one kind," said Simms, who downplays the value of her stock. "They're just sugar cookies."
But along with baking everything herself from scratch, she also manages to produce over 100 designs, replete with hand-piped icing.
"She does an incredible variety," said Nina Sankovitch, a regular customer for 11 years. "She made Mutant Ninja Turtles for my kids when they were into that. She did Star Wars characters when they were into that."
Individualized books, flags, wine bottles, and even portraits of the celebrants themselves are among the creations Simms has delivered to Sankovitch's family.
Once, in a celebration of a play based on the book "Charlotte's Web," Simms created the characters and an intricate web cookie displaying the spider's writing.
Simms also offers decorate-your-own sets for kids who want to make a cookie house.
"She's just incredibly creative," Sankovitch said. "And her cookies are the best. They're the most delicious cookies."
"I don't know what makes them so good," Simms said, joking that she's sick of eating them after all these years. "They're just good."
It all began 46 years ago, when a newly married Simms received a set of cookie cutters from her mother.
"As years went by, I just kept doing the cookies, doing the cookies, just for friends and stuff," she said. "Then I got a job at a restaurant in Greenwich and I had to do all the desserts."
Her creations proved so popular there, customers began advising her to open her own place. Eventually, after that restaurant closed, Simms moved to Westport and started her business.
"Sometimes it could be 500 cookies a week, sometimes it can be 20 cookies, because I never know who's going to call and who I'm going to get," she said.
Now with her website up, however, www.susanscookiestop.com, word will travel over the Internet about the yummy sweetness in Simms' garage.