By creating a box that looks and opens like an old-fashioned oven, xpedx ( helped recreate the warmth of baking with grandma for the customers of Thelma’s Treats, a cookie delivery business in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dereck Lewis knew when he started this new business that his great-grandmother Thelma’s cookie recipes would be the focus. Armed with delicious cookies but a limited budget, he needed a marketing tool that would help his business grow. Together with Brian Sauer from local design agency Saturday Mfg., they created the idea of a box that looked like an oven.

“We knew Dereck had a great idea to deliver warm cookies, but we kept coming back to the fact that warm cookies should come out of an oven,” says Sauer, who developed the first artistic rendering of the box. “There’s nothing better than a homemade cookie fresh from the oven, and we wanted to recreate these feelings of childhood joy for the customers.”

For the final solution, Thelma’s Treats and Saturday Mfg. turned to xpedx, which took the concept of an “oven box” and brought it to life. The Thelma’s Treats delivery box features a front flap so customers truly have to open the oven door to retrieve their warm cookies. The cookies are placed on trays and stacked neatly inside, just like in grandma’s kitchens across the country. It even comes with stovetop burners and a back panel equipped with control knobs – all printed directly on the package.

“With my startup budget, I never imagined I could do something as highly customized as the oven box,” Lewis says. “xpedx took the idea and ran with it. They collaborated with Saturday Mfg. to create a box that is visually appealing to customers, structurally sound and within my budget.”

Just like baking cookies from scratch, the development of the oven box required some careful planning. Joanne Isenhart, Midwest territory marketing, xpedx, served as project manager from the xpedx, Package Design Center in Kansas City, Kan.

“To truly replicate the look of an oven while maintaining the functional properties of a delivery box required the right ‘ingredients’ on our end,” Isenhart says. “We started with the substrate for the outer packaging, added a dash of our design expertise to support the weight of the cookies, mixed in a few fiber-based trays for the right effect and decorated it with Sauer’s creative design, complete with metallic ink for aesthetic appeal.”

Specifically, the carton is .30 KraftPak arranged with load-bearing flaps folded underneath for added strength to support up to two dozen cookies. The fiber-based trays from Chinet, a stock product for xpedx, support six cookies per layer with a parchment sheet between layers. The paper-based products also have insulating properties, helping to keep the cookies warm as Lewis delivers them throughout town.

“The oven box from xpedx and Saturday Mfg. helped double my sales," Lewis says. “I knew the cookies would be a highlight of this business, but I never imagined the box would be just as famous. I’m even getting requests for the box – with or without the cookies – from across the world.”

Lewis is using the Thelma’s Treats Facebook page to post pictures of the emotional responses people have to receiving their special delivery of warm, homemade cookies fresh from the oven.

“Our work with Thelma’s Treats and Saturday Mfg. showcases xpedx’s full service packaging expertise,” Isenhart says. “It’s not just a box that looks like an oven; it’s the collaboration of an agency, business owner and xpedx working together to combine package design, substrates, sourcing, printing and marketing to help a small business reach new heights. It’s yet another example of how xpedx helps our customers succeed.”