Meet Leslie Vliegen, this week’s spotlight Meet A Mom and the Owner of 3 Bros Cookies! These aren’t just any cookies ya’ll. These are handmade Dutch stroopwafels fresh from Fayetteville, GA. and a little bliss in every bite! Leslie’s story, which leads to the opening of 3 Bros Cookies, is as unique as her cookies.
Q & A
Hi Leslie, where are you from? I actually graduated from Fayette County high school- in 1994. I went to Mercer in Macon for a year and then got my Bachelor’s Degree from University of West Georgia. Both of my parents grew up in Atlanta, so I’m pretty much a Georgia girl.I did go to graduate school in Flagstaff, AZ but came back to raise a family. Lived a summer in Charleston, SC, but obviously I’m here now.
How many kids do you have? I gave birth to 2 boys; but my stepchildren’s mom is deceased, so I love them as my own. My youngest is almost 16, I have a senior graduating from SMHS in the spring & my stepson is 21! My only girl lives in The Netherlands; which is a 12 hour flight &/or a 6 hour time difference away.
What do you love about Peachtree City and surrounding areas? I like that PTC is a cultural melting pot. I love the community and the network of cart paths. It’s close to the busiest airport in the world, but still nestled away from the big city.
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Peachtree City and/or surrounding areas?I really enjoy supporting small businesses. I love Pascal’s, Murphy’s, Palmer’s, Due South. I love boutique shopping at places like The Nest, Magnolia, LT, & of course all the local farmers markets & art festivals.
Tell us about your career? Well… after obtaining a Master’s degree, National Certification, & Clinical Licensing, in 2001 I opened & ran a private speech pathology practice in South Metro Atlanta. For twenty years I worked with individuals, families, schools, medical facilities & businesses helping people of all ages achieve ‘Success through Communication. In 2008, I published a little Children’s book called Adventures of Callaway. When that came out, I did some guest speaking for school & church groups on the topics of successful parenting, child development, & effective communication within the home and workplace. That ended up being more like a mission field than work because the publisher I went with was a thief & ended up in jail for not paying royalties.
How did you decide on this Business? In 2016, I was raising 3 boys: ages 10,12, & 15 and attempting to blend the cultures of our Dutch-American family. My career as a speech pathologist had taught me to highlight the strengths of individuals in order to improve their weaknesses. Well my boys, like most, are each uniquely different. I wanted to teach them that their labels of Giftedness, Attention Deficit, & Asperger’s aren’t always a disability; they can also be viewed as attributes: My shy guy built a website & learned Excel. My socially awkward one found & practiced recipes. The outgoing brother designed & learned sales & marketing techniques. My husband, who has an MBA, was the perfect Business Consultant. The 3Bros obtained a cottage business license & their stroopwafels sold like hot cakes at the PTC Night Market! So in 2019, when the oldest brother graduated & went to college, my husband & I decided to do what no one else was doing in the USA. We designed & built a wholesale bakery dedicated to production & distribution of Dutch Stroopwafels across America.
What is the best thing about your job? I love that we have fun! I love that my husband & I are creating something delightfully different. I really Enjoy watching people taste our stroopwafels! It warms my heart that we can employ members of the local community. It’s cool to be able to share the Dutch culture & talk with people about other parts of the world. & I’m happy I get to work with my family (for the most part). It really feels like we are creating a legacy in which our children and their children will be proud to take part.
Advice for Mom’s or a Mom hack you would like to share? Wow- being a mom is both the greatest privilege & the greatest responsibility- for a lifetime. At times I have felt that my life was no longer my own, that my own needs would always be secondary; but I wouldn’t trade it. So as far as a ‘hack’..I’ve always believed that my purpose in life, or my spiritual gift, is to encourage others. I feel best about myself when I am adding value to people. I believe there is goodness in everyone, and that for a person to find their own purpose in life, they need to feel not just accepted, but valued for being their authentic self. As a young mom, I always thought my biggest feat was to find balance; but through the years I’ve realized that each day is truly a gift. Children grow up fast & furiously; so I’m just trying to enjoy the dance!
Check 3 Bros Cookies’ Stroopwafels at Https://www.3broscookies.com