Chrissie Batts is #MadeForKnoxville.

For Chrissie, community activism, business, and motherhood are all baked together in a recipe of love and acceptance. 

Though Chrissie previously ran a successful food business up until the 2008 recession, she was hesitant to try again. Her child’s coming out became the push to get involved with the local LGBTQ community and build a business based in love and acceptance. What started as a bake sale in support of Knox Pride has become Mama Bear Sweet Treats, a thriving mobile cookie company. Her longtime love for entrepreneurship, joined with a passion for community activism, pushes her daily to continue giving back to the community that has given so much to her family. In “Dolly the Cookie Trolley,” Chrissie and her family sell their cookies and use their voices to spread love around town. 

“The community and love that we are sharing feels like the work we were meant to do.”

In Their Own Words…

Mama Bear Sweet Treats was born out of a desire to spread love and acceptance through our delicious 1/4 lb. cookies. The Knoxville LGBTQ community has taken our family in with radical love and acceptance and we want to radiate that same love back to every person we come in contact with! Our mission at Mama Bear Sweet Treats is to spread love and joy, one cookie at a time!! You can find us around town with “Dolly the Cookie Trolley” at festivals and markets. You can also find our cookies locally at South Press Coffee, Red Panda Grocery, Cultivate Coffee, and Bubbles and Cream.

What led to entrepreneurship:

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. Our first business, a catering and gourmet-to-go store in Chattanooga, TN, had seen wild success and quick growth until the recession hit in 2008. Unfortunately, we did not make it through that rough patch and closed our doors in 2008. My heart needed time to heal after such a big loss. I spent the next 14 years homeschooling and raising our family, but my husband always said I would have another passion project when the time was right, but I always politely disagreed. In 2020 when our kiddo came out to us, we got involved in the local LGBTQ community and felt love and acceptance that we had never experienced before. I knew I wanted to give back, but wasn’t quite sure how. When Knox Pride announced its first vendor market, I signed up and sold my Best Damn Sugar Cookies that our friends and family have always loved as a fundraiser to give back to Knox Pride. I never could have imagined how much would change in that short year. Shortly after that, South Press started carrying our cookies; and then in January of 2023, we purchased Dolly the Cookie Trolley and started taking our adorable pink trailer to festivals and events, spreading JOY and COOKIES! Our sweet treats are now in 4 different local businesses and we are planning some big new changes in the next few months to spread our cookie joy beyond Knoxville.

Lessons learned:

Never say never. If it is something you are passionate about, the path will present itself, even if you are not looking. I never would have dreamed up this next step in our entrepreneurial journey, but it is sweeter than I ever could have imagined and the community and love that we are sharing feels like the work we were meant to do. While I swore I would never get back into this arena, I am beyond glad that my husband knew me well enough to know when the time was right to push me toward my dream. We cannot wait to see where this next year of business takes us!


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