After 15 years of running edible bouquet shop Kookie Krums, owner Kelly McMurtey thought of one person to buy the business: longtime customer Janet Long.
“She was so creative,” McMurtrey says of Long. “She would throw these amazing birthday parties for her daughter, and I thought she was perfect for the job. I called her and asked her if she knew anyone who might want to buy Kookie Krums. But really I wanted her to buy it.”
It turns out the timing was perfect for Long. After quitting her job as an office manager at an insurance company to care for her ailing young daughter, she was ready to get back to work, but she needed something that was creative and family friendly.
Long called McMurtrey back a couple of hours later and said she wanted to buy the business.
The Main Street and Highland Avenue location was ideal because she could have her daughter in pre-school down the street, and for after school, there was a cozy nook in the shop for her while Long worked.
After buying the business, the Longs also started being foster parents. They had young children come to them for safe temporary housing.
When she first started fostering, another foster mother told Long, “If a child is meant to be yours, you will know the second you lay eyes on them.”
That can’t be true, Long thought to herself.
Then one night, a little 18-month-old girl arrived at their house. Just as predicted, the whole family knew immediately that she was theirs. Every night the Longs’ daughter prayed that this little girl would become her sister.
Long knew that it was impossible. The girl had parents who did not want to give her up, and even if they did, every biological relative over the age of 18 would certainly receive judicial preference.
But the Longs' daughter persisted with her prayers.
And things started to happen.
The biological father didn’t want to give up his rights to her but he kept missing visitations. After months of second chances, the judge told him he would lose his rights if he missed another one. He never showed again.
But another relative said she would take her. After many more months of waiting and worrying that they would lose her, the relative failed the home study.
The little girl’s biological mother, who was incarcerated at the time, told Long, “I don’t want to give her up. I would never give her up. But I am doing it for her, because I know that you love her. And when she asks about me, I want you to tell her that I love her.”
Last December, after two and a half years, the Longs were finally given the right to adopt the little girl that they had known was their daughter from the first moment they laid eyes on her.
While building a family, going to lengthy court proceedings and growing Kookie Krums, Long found herself in need of some help at the shop. Know who she thought of first? Kelly McMurtrey.
McMurtrey, the former owner, now works part time with Long, and the two are close friends. McMurtrey was even in court the day that the Longs adopted their daughter.
“It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced,” she said. “I get goosebumps just talking about it.”
Having things settled down at home, Long felt like it was time for Kookie Krums to get a makeover. Main Street and Highland Avenue are under construction and Long said it seemed like a good time to add display cases, feature more baked goods and create a place to sit for coffee.
If you want to send a delicious edible cookie bouquet, need party favors like Cake Pops and photo cookies, or just want to pick up some yummy cookies for your family visit Kookie Krums and let others know about your experience on Dunedin Patch.