Bak­ing for BRUNO

Bruno Mars to get some Maui sweet­ness back­stage at Aloha Sta­dium con­certs

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By MELISSA TANJI Staff Writer

Bruno Mars may be chow­ing down on some Maui-baked good­ness as the Grammy award-win­ning singer-song­writer per­forms dur­ing his sold-out con­certs at Aloha Sta­dium.

On Wed­nes­day, the

Makawaobased Maui

Cookie Lady sent more than five dozen cook­ies to

Oahu, des­tined for the Hawaii per­form­ing star’s green room. Mars held his first con­cert Thurs­day night, with two more sched­uled on Satur­day and Sun­day on his 24K Magic World Tour.

“For me, I’m just like what a phe­nom­e­nal lit­tle tiny door to open,” said Mitzi Toro, the Maui Cookie Lady her­self.

Not only is Toro jazzed about Mars pos­si­bly eat­ing her cook­ies, but now Live Na­tion En­ter­tain­ment, Mars’ con­cert pro­moter, “knows we ex­ist.”

Live Na­tion En­ter­tain­ment is also known as the world’s largest con­cert pro­moter.

“This could open the door for more names in the in­dus­try for other con­certs,” said Toro, a for­mer teacher and coun­selor at Kalama In­ter­me­di­ate School.

The cook­ies are dec­o­rated with edi­ble im­ages of Mars and Live Na­tion.

Months ago, Toro sent out an in­quiry to the pro­mot­ers to see if her cook­ies could make it back­stage with Mars.

In gen­eral, she said it is a com­pet­i­tive process to get her cook­ies in be­cause many oth­ers try to place their prod­ucts with celebri­ties.

She had just about given up on the idea, not hear­ing back from Mars’ pro­mo­tions peo­ple and know­ing the con­certs were in less than a week.

But, on Tues­day, she got an email from Los An­ge­les grant­ing her re­quest.

“I al­most fainted,” Toro said. “I thought I was go­ing to fall off the chair,” she later added. “I just couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Thank­fully, Toro had pre­pared her edi­ble rock star im­ages to place atop of her cook­ies in ad­vance.

Im­ages of Mars and pro­mo­tion com­pany Live Na­tion are made out of in­gre­di­ents such as rice wafer pa­per and edi­ble ink, which are placed on an edi­ble back­ing.

The del­i­cate process takes a few weeks, Toro said. “I got them ready. It re­ally worked out this time,” she said, not­ing that in the past, some re­quests to have cook­ies back­stage were de­nied.

The va­ri­eties of cook­ies she sent to Oahu in­clude the but­ter rum triple chun­ker, pineap­ple-ly­chee-pas­sion with hi­bis­cus flow­ers and le­mon choco­late, along with Maui mango with pineap­ple and co­conut.

And if Mars takes a bite, it won’t be the first celebrity to taste the chunky cookie.

Toro has taken her goods to celebri­ties per­form­ing at the Maui Arts & Cul­tural Cen­ter, in­clud­ing Bill Maher, Di­ana Ross and Lu­dacris. Dwayne “The Rock” John­son has also re­ceived the Maui cook­ies and took to so­cial me­dia to rave about them. Lu­dacris, too.

The celebri­ties may fol­low The Maui Cookie Lady on so­cial me­dia.

And, in turn, the celebri­ties’ fol­low­ers could turn into po­ten­tial cus­tomers, Toro noted.

Toro has been fea­tured on “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.” She be­gan sell­ing her cook­ies at the ritzy Saks Fifth Av­enue de­part­ment store in Waikiki in 2017.

Toro’s busi­ness be­gan in 2013 when she sold her chunky cook­ies at Wailuku’s First Fri­day events. It was a fundraiser for Maui Me­mo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s In­ten­sive Care Unit nurses, who took care of her late fa­ther, Werner Kraensel.

They were a hit. And Toro

worked on de­vel­op­ing her busi­ness and be­gan dis­tribut­ing the cook­ies to a few se­lect ho­tels and lo­ca­tions. She left her school job in 2016 to im­merse her­self in her bud­ding cookie em­pire.

And it paid off.

Aside from gar­ner­ing pub­lic­ity, her cookie or­ders have been stack­ing up. Her on­line site is back or­dered un­til early next year.

And, at Saks Fifth Av­enue, the cook­ies are sell­ing out be­fore they ar­rive at the store.

The cook­ies are still avail­able at Maui Pack and Ship in Kahu­lui.

While hav­ing wait­ing lists and back or­ders may be a “good prob­lem” to have, Toro

said she does not want to have cus­tomers wait­ing for months.

She has more than dou­bled her bak­ing and pro­duc­tion staff, which hov­ered around four to five last year and has grown to the cur­rent nine. She plans on hir­ing two more work­ers.

Toro is on the look­out for a larger man­u­fac­tur­ing space with a ware­house be­cause she has out­grown her fa­cil­ity in Makawao.

“We would move to­mor­row if we can,” she said.

Toro is so in­tent on find­ing a space that she made the plea: “They get free cook­ies for a year, if they rent me a space.”

Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

The Maui Cookie Lady photo

Award-win­ning singer-song­writer Bruno Mars will have The Maui Cookie Lady cook­ies in his green room at the Aloha Sta­dium on Oahu. His first of three con­sec­u­tive con­certs was Thurs­day night.

Mitzi Toro

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