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Sizing Up Small

a tempting sugar cookie with a peanut butter frosting and topping with crumbled peanut butter cups rests on a pale pink piece of paper.
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Why focus an entire issue of Utah State magazine on tiny things? Because sometimes they make the biggest impact.

For instance, Reagan Wytsalucy, ’16, M.S. ’19, an Extension agent in San Juan County and assistant professor of agriculture and natural resources, is helping to bring needed light to the Navajo Nation. She is partnering with Watts of Love, a nonprofit that provides small but bright solar-powered lights to places in the world where electricity is scarce or unaffordable. On the Navajo reservation, nearly 30% of homes do not have electricity. This last fall, Wytsalucy and Watts of Love worked with local chapters to identify the households most in need and delivered more than 200 lights. They plan to distribute thousands more throughout 2022.

The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven challenging on a number of fronts. And during particularly cold and stressful moments this past winter, I baked cookies and delivered them to my neighbors. And nearly every time, the person answering the door couldn’t help but smile when looking down at the 2-year-old delivery person holding up a tray of warm cookies. A single cookie can uplift flagging spirits. A cookie can create and strengthen connections.

In our cover story, “A Craving: Building a Bakery Empire,” the founders of Crumbl seemed to understand this intuitively when they launched the first location without fully cementing their business plan first. But Sawyer Hemsley ’18 and Jason McGowan knew their idea of a tech-driven bakery could work, they would just figure out how later. And what began as a quest to develop the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie — the backbone of this cookie empire — evolved to weekly offerings that rotate, bringing new flavors for the masses to feast upon and available by clicking an app. Crumbl now has more than 340 locations across the country, proving how right the cookie entrepreneurs were about their mission: “Bring friends and family together over a box of the best cookies in the world.” And it’s quite tasty.

By Kristen Munson, Utah State magazine editor
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