By Sarah Engler
Launching your own business is quite an accomplishment — especially if it happens before you finish kindergarten. "It all began because I was tired of taking the bus," says Cory Nieves, now 10. In 2009, Nieves and his mother had just moved from the Bronx to New Jersey for a better school district. "I wanted to buy my mom a car," he says, "so I started selling hot chocolate out of a friend's restaurant." Nieves soon added cookies — though making them wasn’t easy. "They were either too hard or too soft," says his mom, Lisa. "Oatmeal raisin took almost a year to perfect!"
Everything was going great — "I was making up to $150 on the weekends!" Nieves says — until Mr. Cory’s Cookies was shut down for selling treats baked in a home kitchen, a health code violation. But after a local bakery owner referred him to an attorney, Nieves and his mom were able to form a business legally and secure a commercial kitchen.
Nieves now sells cookies at pop-up stands in Manhattan and New Jersey and dough on his website, MrCorysCookies.com. "They're made with love and no artificial flavors," says Nieves, who now cedes the baking duties to Mom. Still, it's clear who's the boss — or at least who wears the pants: Nieves has become an Instagram hit for his wardrobe of slim-fitting suits and statement frames. Lisa is fine taking orders from her stylish son — until he turns 18: "I don't care how successful he gets. He's still going to college!"