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Cookie cutters taking shape in Pleasant Valley
Posted at 9:45 AM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 16:17:13-05

PLEASANT VALLEY, Mo. — The largest cookie cutter manufacturer west of the Mississippi River sits in Pleasant Valley, Missouri.

Thousands and thousands of cookie cutters are created at Off the Beaten Path for its customers.

Tammy and Joel Hughes founded back in 1993.

"Well it's fun for us, it's like a little hidden gem," Tammy Hughes said. "It's fun to make cookie cutters."

From ballerinas to even Bigfoot, cutters come in all shapes and sizes.

"When we were in college, we never pictured, I'm going to sell cookie cutters eventually," Tammy Hughes said. "It's just one of those niches that we kind of fell into, and it's just been working."

What was just a fun idea has now taken off.

"We manufacture about 500,000 cookie cutters a year," Tammy Hughes said. "So that's roughly 1,200 a day, maximum capacity." is roughly 60 percent retail 40 percent wholesale.

So how do they do it? They start with the cut off machine.

"It does two or three different things. First off, it puts that rolled edge onto the tin stripping," Joel Hughes said. "And then cuts it into the particular length that we need for our cookie cutter."

Once that's finished, employees arch the tin to fit around a design mold.

It is then shaped into the design. Several are created by hand.

Many design ideas come from their customers.

"They'll call us and say, 'Hey I'm really thinking that you guys should make a new shape,'" Tammy Hughes said. "So, like, we develop new shapes basically from our customers. If we think we can sell lots of them, or if it's a nice shape that a lot of people will want."

Creating the designs takes anywhere between two to three weeks.

To speed up the process for big orders or more complex shapes, employees use the hydraulics machine. Spot welders put the finishing touches on the cookie cutter, closing the pieces together.

3D printers are used to handle the plastic cookie cutters.

Then, they're sent off to help create a sweet treat for the holidays.