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Pandemic Profile: San Diego Baker Puts Heart And Soul Into Her Cookies Despite COVID-19

Maya Madsen, owner of Maya's Cookies, helps a customer decide on some holiday cookies, Dec. 10, 2020.
Roland Lizarondo
Maya Madsen, owner of Maya's Cookies, helps a customer decide on some holiday cookies, Dec. 10, 2020.

Maya Madsen, the mastermind behind Maya's Cookies, said she had a steady stream of customers to her shop in Grantville and was slowing building up her online business when her world was turned upside down.

"Once the pandemic hit and people were shopping from home and ordering online, we really started to see an increase in sales," Madsen said.

Pandemic Profile: San Diego Baker Puts Heart And Soul Into Her Cookies Despite COVID-19
Listen to this story by Roland Lizarondo.

Then there was the tragic death of George Floyd.

"The first day that we saw an increase in sales was June 2nd, after the horrific death of George Floyd and all of the social injustice that was brought to the forefront. People wanted to support Black-owned businesses and we went from about 20 to 50 sales a day online to the numbers were climbing into the hundreds and we were excited. We couldn't believe it, and we ended up having 10,000 orders in our queue."

Madsen was overwhelmed at first.

VIDEO: San Diego Baker Puts Heart And Soul Into Her Cookies Despite The Pandemic

"So my emotions went from happy and excited, to scared, to nausea and not being able to eat, to all of a sudden me saying, 'OK, I can do this. Let me put my big girl pants on and get this done.' That's my saying."

She said it took her a couple days to figure out how to serve her exploding customer base.

"I'm happy to say we were able to fulfill all those orders. Our goal during the spike was to do 500 orders a day. So my son was in charge of this and keeping track of how many orders we got out," she said.

Madsen, herself a former foster child, said when she started her business in 2015, one of her goals was to give back to the community.

In an ongoing series, KPBS takes a look at how San Diegans are coping during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am passionate about helping youth. We work with a local organization called Detour Fancy that empowers young women of color in underserved communities."

Madsen said a portion of the sale of her holiday tin of cookies will go to Detour Fancy.

Some might consider her cookies a specialty item since they are vegan. To that, Madsen smiles.

"When people talk about Maya's Cookies, I want them to say this is the best cookie I've ever had. It's delicious. I don't want them to say this is the best vegan cookie I ever had. This is the best cookie."