The Corner Pop-Up hosts its first small business: Royal Gourmet Cookies

After a health scare last October, Emerald Austin decided to live her dream and begin her own business.

Emerald+Austin%2C+owner+of+Royal+Gourmet+Cookies%2C+is+the+first+small+business+to+be+hosted+at+the+Corner+Pop-Up%2C+an+entrepreneurial+retail+space+provided+by+the+City+of+Long+Beach%2C+that+local+start-ups+will+be+able+to+utilize+free+of+charge.
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The Corner Pop-Up hosts its first small business: Royal Gourmet Cookies

Emerald Austin, owner of Royal Gourmet Cookies, is the first small business to be hosted at the Corner Pop-Up, an entrepreneurial retail space provided by the City of Long Beach, that local start-ups will be able to utilize free of charge.

Emerald Austin, owner of Royal Gourmet Cookies, is the first small business to be hosted at the Corner Pop-Up, an entrepreneurial retail space provided by the City of Long Beach, that local start-ups will be able to utilize free of charge.

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Emerald Austin, owner of Royal Gourmet Cookies, is the first small business to be hosted at the Corner Pop-Up, an entrepreneurial retail space provided by the City of Long Beach, that local start-ups will be able to utilize free of charge.

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Emerald Austin, owner of Royal Gourmet Cookies, is the first small business to be hosted at the Corner Pop-Up, an entrepreneurial retail space provided by the City of Long Beach, that local start-ups will be able to utilize free of charge.

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In between finding a lump in her breast and her appointment to get it checked out, Emerald Austin found herself reflecting back on her life, and found that there was still a dream that was yet to be fulfilled.

“I did everything I wanted to do as far as personal stuff. I have my husband, my children, good friends and family, but I’m not living what I want to do,” Austin said in an interview with the Signal Tribune Nov 23.

If she were to end up tied down to a hospital bed, she knew she would regret not following her dream of launching her own business, Austin said.

“If I go out, I’m going to go out like a G– I’m going to do what I want to do,” she said. “I’m going to live my life the way I want to live it and not live my life based off of fear of the unknown of the business.”

The lump Austin found on her breast turned out to be non-life threatening, but her unrelenting motivation to kickstart her own business was still burning, and in March 2019, she launched Royal Gourmet Cookies. On Nov. 21, Austin had a successful grand-opening event as the first business to operate out of Long Beach’s the Corner Pop-Up shop–– an office space provided by the City for start-up businesses to have a place to work.

Austin sold out hundreds of cookies well before closing time.

“I was so excited, it’s really amazing, we had sold out by 2pm,” Austin, who opened the shop at 11am, said.

Austin currently sells cookies, water and milk at the Corner Pop-Up, but she hopes to expand to more items such as cookie ice-cream sandwiches and events like cookie decorating for kids, a dessert lounge and a family game night.

“I feel my business should be an extension of me, and what I do and who I am in real life,” she said. “I think family and doing things together is really important.”

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
Aside of classic flavors, Emerald Austin also creates her own original cookie flavors. From left to right, Mrs. Claus, S’mores, Chocolate Chip and P.M.S. Oh Yes.

Her current in-store original cookie flavors include P.M.S. Oh Yes, cookie with a chocolate chip, Snickers, Twix and Kit Kat topping; Mrs. Claus, cookie with white chocolate drizzle sprinkled and crushed peppermint; S’mores, cookie with graham crackers, chocolate chips and marshmallows; as well as classics such as chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and peanut butter.

Aside from managing her current pop-up location, Austin wakes up at 5:30am–– almost daily–– to fulfill her baking orders. She also takes personal orders and sells wholesale to local coffee shops and chicken and soul-food places in Long Beach.

Regarding her favorite part of her Corner Pop-Up experience, Austin said, “This gives me a snippet of how my shop would really be.”

Austin also enjoys meeting people who have supported her on social media, “I’ve only seen their picture or their icon but it feels like I’ve known them because they message me and give me encouragement––if feels good to put a name to the face and actually see the people that really do love the cookies.”

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
The current menu showcasing cookie flavors and prices at Royal Gourmet Cookie’s pop-up shop.

As for what’s next for Austin after the Corner Pop-Up, she already has multiple goals in mind, including having her own cookie shop.

“I think that would give me a lot more freedom to be creative,” said Austin.

A cookie truck is another one of her goals, which would allow her to do events with more mobility. She also hopes to expand to be able to employ others.

Prior to committing to Royal Gourmet Cookies, Austin worked in insurance.

“I know what it’s like to be an employee, and I want to be able to provide a lot of things to my employees,” she said. “I really want to be an amazing employer–– where I can provide benefits.”

Austin’s advice for other individuals who are seeking to start their own business is to seek mentorship and credits at the Long Beach City College (LBCC) Small Business Development Center and their free mentorship program.

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
Emerald Austin, owner of Royal Gourmet Cookies, is the first small business to be hosted at the Corner Pop-Up, an entrepreneurial retail space provided by the City of Long Beach, that local start-ups will be able to utilize free of charge.

“I didn’t know how to figure out–– the pricing, and how I’m supposed to do this, ‘Is this too much? is it too little?’ I wasn’t making anything and I didn’t understand,” Austin recalled.

Apart from the mentorship, Austin said she took two classes, which helped her balance her strong creative and artistic side with the business side.

Royal Gourmet Cookies will be hosted at the Corner Pop-Up until Christmas. Cookies are $3 each for a pack of two or two packs for $5, with a gift wrap option available for the holidays. The Corner Pop-Up shop is located at 2640 E. Anaheim St. and is currently open from Thursday to Sunday, operating from noon until 5pm from Thursday through Saturday and from 1pm to 5pm on Sundays.

Those interested in what Royal Gourmet Cookies has to offer, visit royalgourmetcookies.com for personal orders.