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ALTON - It has been a long 42-year-old love affair for Linda McCormick and the Cookie Factory and her customers. Linda plans to retire at the end of the year, but she is in the process of trying to sell her business so it will continue at Alton Square Mall.

Today, she has both upstairs and downstairs locations at the mall and is a fixture there. Cookies and other items are sold both upstairs and downstairs, but they are different at each, she said. She has some grab sandwiches, salads, soups, hot dogs, upstairs.

Linda said the business has not made her rich, but she has always been able to pay the bills, and she has a wonderful group of people who work with her daily and the best customers in the world here in Alton.

Patty Goss has been Linda’s right hand and worked at the Cookie Factory for many years. Her children also now work there.

Linda plans to spend more time with her sister who is moving back to the area and her grandchildren and of course, her husband, Mike, the Village of Godfrey mayor. Mike was previously a very successful businessman, as the previous owner of Imo’s. She consults Mike on many of her big business decisions because he has such keen insight.

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The Cookie Factory owner said she could not say enough good things about the Hull Group, the owners of Alton Square Mall. She said she has been working with them on her upcoming retirement and hopes to have someone purchase and take over her business.

Linda said when she was 22 and had no college or business experience, she had the dream of operating a Cookie Factory, which was strong at that time in Chicago. She struggled to get a bank to loan her the money. She went to one banker who was friends with her dad who turned her down and scared her about the thought of operating the business. However, years later, after establishing her business, she saw the man at the mall. The Cookie Factory was packed, and she was working, and he simply gave her a smile and a thumbs up. She said she will never forget him doing that, and it meant a lot.

She believed it was what is today Mid-American Credit Union that loaned her the initial money to get started and she said she will forever be thankful.

Linda says the key to her success with the Cookie Factory outlets has been simple:

“We provided a good product with good service while being happy at work. Your employees will make you or break you. I have had some great employees over the years, and the ones we still have are doing well. I hope we can find someone to purchase the business to keep it going after the end of the year. It is such a strong addition to Alton Square Mall.”

'Tis the Season to Shop Small and Save! Shop Small Saturday, November 27th.