Lura’s Kitchen Gourmet Cookie Mixes Bring Back Homemade Flavor

Lura’s Kitchen Gourmet Cookie Mixes Bring Back Homemade Flavor
PHOTOS BY LURA'S KITCHEN

Munching on one of Lura Ball’s tasty homemade cookies is like biting into a little piece of heaven. Asked why her cookies are so good, Ball, who has been cooking for over six decades, chuckled.

“I bake my cookies with plenty of love and care,” said Ball, the CEO of Lura’s Kitchen, maker of premium gourmet cookie mixes.

Her customers love her tasty cookie mixes and flock to her website to regularly order her products that never fail to melt in your mouth. “I love selling my cookie mixes. It brings joy and happiness, and it makes people feel special,” Ball said.

Cookie mixes include Tura Lura’s Chocolate Chip with Pecans, Langston’s No-Nonsense Chocolate Chip–both made with a secret blend of real vanilla and premium semi-dark chocolate chips–and Madear’s Old Fashioned Teacake.

“You just have to add eggs and butter,” said Ball, who learned how to bake from watching her mother as a child. “She was known for her carrot, chocolate mayonnaise cakes, and they were delicious.” 

“The difference between my cookies and others is that I use all premium ingredients,” Ball said. “I use a special vanilla, and I use the best flour, butter, and eggs, and the chocolate I use is responsibly sourced. All of my cookies are a twist on a traditional recipe or an original recipe. The pecans I use are top quality Pasa pecans, a premium pecan from Texas,” she said.

One of her most popular mixes is her tea cakes cookie mix.

“The history of the tea cake is very important in the Black community because they survived slavery and became a symbol of love,” said Ball, who has extensively researched the history of the tea cake.

“Black people used to have to make them for their “massas” for their afternoon tea, but it became a special treat at home. When Blacks migrated out of the South, they brought the tea cake with them, so tea cakes are full of love and nostalgia. It was a Southern sweet treat, and my company is the only one that does a dry mix for tea cakes,” she said.

Ball, a South Los Angeles resident who launched Lura’s Kitchen in 2019, was among the countless businesses that were severely affected by the pandemic. 

“I started out with baked cookies, but then COVID came,” she said. Despite the setback, Ball pivoted during the crisis and was able to retool her business strategy.

She sought out a business coach at the South LA Business Source Center and streamlined her business to repackage her three most popular cookies into gourmet cookies—3-ingredient dry mixes that bake in 30 minutes.

She entered a women-owned business competition for startups and small businesses held by the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Center (VSEDC). She won first place, receiving a $10k Small Business CDFI Loan from VSEDC, which she utilized to upgrade her product packaging.

She also applied for a grant from the Local Initiative Support Corporation, a national nonprofit organization that helps small businesses. She received a letter of congratulations from LISC stating that she is approved for the grant worth $250K.

“That funding will help me buy inventory and improve my home-based kitchen and purchase convection ovens,” she said, adding that she also wants to start offering her baked cookies in the near future.

“I did not want a brick-and-mortar store, so I decided to work with a co-packer who could replicate my recipes into a dough and bake my cookies so I could ship them out online.” 

Ball said a woman-owned firm in Lincoln, Nebraska called Heartland Gourmet LLC packages her mixes. In addition, Ball’s cookies are sold on Amazon. “I’m part of the Amazon Black Business Accelerator that helps small Black businesses. I’ve been with the program for six months,” she said.

Ball is a firm believer in passing on the family business and employs three generations of her family. Her sister, Shell, is the treasurer and Chief Morale Officer. Her daughter, Elle, is the marketing and social media director; and her son, Langston, and niece, Janae, are board members. Her granddaughter, Trinity, is their business’ TikTok coordinator. 

Ball’s ultimate goal is to expand her company and secure distribution deals with Gelson’s, Whole Foods, and Lassens. Plans also include targeting specialty stores, farmers markets, and gift shops. 

Lura’s Kitchen can be accessed online at luraskitchen.com.

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