A well-known restaurant business based at Paraparaumu Beach closes today after serving delicious wholesome food for many years.
Cookies has been going strong for about a quarter of a century with customers loving the smorgasbord range of food.
But a back injury to one of the key staff has been the catalyst for the decision close.
Linda Murray and son Andrew Murray started Cookies in 1996 in the Kena Kena shopping area, where the Four Square is now.
"We had been working at the Paraparaumu RSA, and had such a good following, that we decided to set up our own business," Linda said.
The name Cookies came from a local policeman.
"He always called me Cookie … I just became known as Mrs Cookie."
Cookies started in two shops at Kena Kena and soon expanded to encompass three shops.
But after about three years the business had become so popular that they needed to relocate to larger premises.
They found it in the Copperfields shopping precinct, in Seaview Rd, Paraparaumu Beach, where an atrium-style building suited the burgeoning business.
"We went from 80 seats at Kena Kena to 180 seats at Copperfields."
Smorgasbord proved as popular as ever and they expanded into catering for functions like weddings, birthdays and even funerals.
"We had about 10 to 15 varieties of food."
It was a family business with Linda's husband Norman and their daughter Rachel helping too.
When a recession hit, and only being half full, they relocated the business, which had been operating in Copperfields for about 10 years, around the corner into a smaller building in Maclean St.
"It was the best thing we did because at Copperfields we were just known for the elderly.
"But moving to Maclean St gave us a higher profile and a younger age group too."
After about five years in Maclean St, they relocated back to Seaview Rd into a small shop specialising in over-the-counter takeaway meals, fresh or frozen, and being as popular as ever.
There was no major secret to the success.
"We just listen to what the customer wants and all our food is cooked fresh daily."
Max Horncy, from Waikanae, who has been a regular for about 10 years, summed up Cookies.
"Good value, friendly service, great food."
In all the years there had only been one complaint.
"An American came in and wanted some cookies, which we didn't sell, and he was disgusted … he just went on and on."
Linda recalled an interesting episode during the Kena Kena years when a man came in for dinner and was transfixed on watching the open kitchen operate.
"I found out he was a famous chef from Melbourne and that he wanted me to go over there and teach his staff how to interact with customers."
But recently the key member of the team, Andrew, suffered a serious back injury after slipping on black ice one morning, which meant he couldn't return to work anytime soon.
And with Linda and Norman having moved to Waitarere Beach, the workload and time commitment was too much for them so the decision to close was made.
Linda said the family had enjoyed the business and customer interaction.
"We're very much a people-orientated family.
"It's never really been a job – more of a passion.
"I know that's what chefs say but it's true."
Linda said the shop's lease as well as chattels would be retained, for a few weeks, in the hope someone might want to use it for their kitchen business.
"It would be a fantastic opportunity for someone.
"We've always been about community and people."