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From Mom’s Little Helper to Entrepreneurial Baker: Kentrella Shoats’ Journey with Spark Thomasville

Updated: May 30


Kentrella Shoats
Kentrella Shoats

I love stories about winners!

Can I share another story about a hard working Spark Graduate who is building community, and enhancing Thomasville's economic viability? It is a story worth sharing!

 

Kentrella Shoats.

 

Her story is a winner's story about Thomasville's generosity. Your generosity! I hope you will read on...


Kentrella Shoats, the founder of Cookie Trelle, is a shining example of how passion, hard work, and the right support can turn a dream into a thriving business. Her entrepreneurial journey began in the kitchen at the tender age of eight, where she served as her mother’s sous chef and learned the art of baking from her great-grandmother’s recipes.


Kentrella’s family is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Her mother, aunt, and grandmother were all serial entrepreneurs, selling MaryKay, working as seamstresses, and representing Avon. Her dad owned “Shoats Produce,” a farm that supplied produce for Kroger. And one of her aunts owns a DUI school and thrift store.

Mentor Doug Shierling & Kentrella Shoats
Mentor Doug Shierling & Kentrella

This exposure to business ownership undoubtedly sparked Kentrella’s own entrepreneurial spirit. Her passion for baking continued to grow during her first job at Subway, where she experimented with leftover dough and discovered the joys of creating unique flavor combinations. Kentrella’s fascination with the baking process led her to focus on perfecting cookies and bread while her colleagues made sandwiches.

 

Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic, when Kentrella’s thoughtful care packages for her mother, filled with homemade cookies, ignited a demand from her family for more of her delectable treats. Inspired by her family’s entrepreneurial background and the overwhelming response to her cookies, Kentrella began to dream of starting her own cookie business.

 

Enter Spark Thomasville and the life-changing words of director DeShay Williams: “Let us help you!” Kentrella embraced the opportunity, joining the Spark cohort and finding divine guidance in her mentor, Doug Sterling, a former Nabisco employee. With the clarity and support provided by Spark, Cookie Trelle was born.


Left to right: Doug Shierling, Kentrella & DeShay Williams
Left to right: Doug Shierling, Kentrella & DeShay Williams

Kentrella’s standout participation in the 2023 Spark cohort earned her a $500 award from an anonymous donor, recognizing her dedication and potential.

 

Her success story was featured in the 2024 Spring issue of Thom Magazine, cementing her status as an up-and-coming entrepreneur to watch. 


What sets Kentrella’s cookies apart is her innovative approach to reducing sugar content by 38% while still delivering the decadent flavors of beloved Southern recipes like Red Velvet, Pecan Pie, and Upside-Down Pineapple Cake. Additionally, Cookie Trelle offers gluten-free and vegan options that are just as indulgent, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

 

This Thursday marks a significant milestone for Kentrella and Cookie Trelle, as they officially join the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce. To celebrate, Kentrella is launching exciting new flavors like Tiramisu and Peach-Rum Cobbler, alongside her signature reduced-sugar and allergen-friendly treats.

 

As Kentrella continues to pour her heart into her creations, she dreams of one day opening an uptown shop that will fill Thomasville with the irresistible aroma of Cookie Trelle’s sweet treats. With her dedication, creativity, and the ongoing support of the Spark community, there’s no doubt that Kentrella’s entrepreneurial journey will continue to inspire and delight for years to come.

 

Warmly,

DeShay Williams

 

P.S. Want to show Kentrella some love? Congratulate her in person at the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce Cookie Trelle ribbon cutting, on Thursday, May 23, at 4 p.m. (Learn more here). Hit her up on social media and congratulate her:

Some flavors of beloved Southern recipes like Red Velvet, Pecan Pie, and Upside-Down Pineapple Cake.
Some flavors of beloved Southern recipes like Red Velvet, Pecan Pie, and Upside-Down Pineapple Cake.

P.P.S. She might bring some of her treasures to the ribbon cutting... They are worth coming for!

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