Casey's Cookies Launches Cookie Sales at Angels After Dark Charity Event

Casey's Cookies Launches Cookie Sales at Angels After Dark Charity Event

Reprinted as appeared on the cover of The Northeast Journal

Caseys Cookies launches sales at the Angels after Dark Charity Fund Raising Event

photos and story by Rob Baynard, Editor-at-Large of


“This is all starting right here in St. Petersburg,” said Barry Torman, board member of Casey’s Cookies, a St. Petersburg, Fla. 501c(3) not-for-profit corporation.  

Casey’s Cookies was formed out of a need that St. Petersburg entrepreneurs Barry and Lori Torman saw developing right in their own home. The Torman’s daughter, Casey Torman, was born with a congenital birth defect known as Goldenhar Syndrome. She is also hearing impaired and has had nine surgeries to correct the curvatures in her spine. Despite all this, she has an ever-present smile, a desire to help others, and like everyone, a love for great cookies. 

For many developmentally disabled young adults, life after high school doesn’t provide many opportunities. There are countless programs designed to help usher disabled children through adolescence. But what happens next in their adult lives remains of little focus for social programs.  Casey Torman, the face of Casey’s Cookies, graduated from the special diploma program at Gibbs High School in the summer of 2010. While Casey was approaching graduation, the Tormans reached out to Gibbs special education teacher Cherry Correa, who had helped mentor Casey and whom they respected. Like any other parent whose child is graduating from high school, the Tormans wanted to know what options their daughter had for the future. Unfortunately as they would learn from Correa and the world around them, developmentally disabled adults have few choices, and even fewer opportunities after leaving school. 

“I wanted to offer them more,” said Cherry Correa, a former special education teacher and current executive director of Casey’s Cookies. “For me it was very frustrating seeing my kids graduate after four years,” especially knowing that society didn’t provide many options for developmentally disabled adults.  "In reality it wasn’t anything that I could say: Good, you’re going to get enough skills to go out there and be on your own,” said Correa. Barry and Lori Torman formed Casey’s Cookies to try to respond to this need. They are using their entrepreneurial spirit, business knowledge and resources to create a business model that will benefit and sustain an often overlooked and marginalized population. 

Barry Torman said the goal of Casey’s Cookies is to “train and employ developmentally disabled young adults, and even older adults, so that we can improve their quality of life and be able to give them a reason to get up and get going everyday.” The Tormans launched Casey’s Cookies in the hopes that it could serve as a model for other communities around the country facing the same needs. The focus is on providing an economic future for developmentally disabled young adults, especially as they transition out of special education programs into adulthood.  Unlike other organizations that rely heavily on public and private funding, Casey’s Cookies seeks to support its benevolent operations through the sale of premium quality cookies. This will enable developmentally disabled adults to learn specific job skills and earn a sustainable income that gives them a sense of achievement and independence, a feeling that resonates with anyone who has ever held a paycheck.  

“This is the first one that we know of that’s been done, anywhere,” said Barry Torman. “This is, I think, an opportunity for a model to be created that will come out of St. Pete; that’s ultimately going to serve communities all over the county. This is going to be something that we can all be ultimately proud of as a community.”
Casey’s Cookies is starting small but realistic. They have rented a commercial kitchen and gone through all the necessary Florida licensing and health-safety requirements, in order to sell cookies commercially to buyers. The first year will include four developmentally disabled employees working under the direction and supervision of Executive Director Cherry Correa, who will also help coordinate the many volunteers needed in order to make Casey’s Cookies a success. They hope within a few years to have increased their menu offerings, acquire their own kitchen, and begin to look for a residential facility in close proximity to the kitchen where employees can live and work with ease. 

The Tormans have established a website for Casey’s Cookies ( that will serve as a major source of the cookie orders for individual consumers. Casey’s Cookies will also be relying on corporate sales to provide a steady stream of standing orders that will keep its operations going. They are in the process of applying to St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market and hope to have many scheduled selling days where they sell cookies to the public.

“These are cookies with a cause, if you will,” Barry Torman said. “These are cookies that could actually accomplish something.”  Instead of local businesses ordering their treats from franchised, for-profit companies, they can impress their clients and employees by showing that they care about giving back to the community.  Having Casey’s Cookies in their reception area or conference room can help improve their image with customers or clients, while at the same time contributing to a unique business that tackles special need in an innovative way. But don’t forget how good the cookies are! 

All of Casey’s Cookies are made with special ingredients and delivered or shipped on the same day they’re baked. “We really wanted to select and make cookies that most people would consider premium-quality cookies,” said Barry Torman.

They currently have a menu of four choices that will expand in the future, which includes chocolate chip, maple, cinnamon chip oatmeal, and a sugar cookie.  “Each cookie has its own unique ingredient,” said Correa. “The sugar has the cake batter. The oatmeal has the cinnamon chips.  You can feel the chips in there. The chocolate chip has Ghiradelli chocolate, and the maple has an amazing maple flavoring.”  

As your mouth continues to salivate and you think about ordering from Casey’s Cookies, remember that this is a community effort. It’s the individuals and businesses in the community that will help realize this dream for the Tormans and help establish a model for developmentally disabled adults elsewhere in the world. When planning your next party, conference, or holiday gathering, wouldn’t it be better to order from Casey’s Cookies rather than contributing more to corporate coffers? Ditch the franchise and go local. 

“When you taste the cookies, and you taste the special ingredients in each cookie, you can tell there’s a difference. These are very different and unique cookies,” said Correa. “I think it’s a product prepared with a lot of love.” 

Volunteers will always be needed and can help with transportation, supervision, packaging, and deliveries. The Tormans have set up a system that will allow volunteers to schedule their time through a website. That system will also email them when other opportunities come available. For more information on how to contribute to Casey’s Cookies, or to place your cookie orders, please call Casey’s Cookies at (727) 388-4150, or email them at

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