Twenty years ago this month Shawnee resident and grandfather, Terry Duff purchased Mrs. Fields cookie shop in the Shawnee Mall, which is now run by his his granddaughters 18-year-old Jacee Victory and 24-year-old Tristy Campbell.
According to the owner, after seeing an advertisement in the Daily Oklahoman and retiring from Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center as the Deputy Superintendent, he and his wife, Susan, decided to purchase the shop in Shawnee and another location in Enid.
"I had retired a little earlier than I expected to. I got bored and saw an ad in the paper...and...it was a pretty decent deal and we bought it from the corporation and that was in November of 1999," Terry said. "We've been at it ever since."
Terry said he and Susan didn't run the store for long, but they learned the ropes of the business and eventually became managers of the store managers.
Now Terry explained he and Susan own a total of four cookie shops with the original Mrs. Fields in the Shawnee Mall and three Great American Cookies shops in Oklahoma City, Enid and Norman.
Terry said while he and Susan only worked in the stores for a little while, his granddaughters, Tristy and Jacee, both started working at the cookie shop when they were 14-years-old and now they both run the original Mrs. Fields.
"It's a family thing, at least here in town, and it makes me feel good to (see them) running the store and it makes me proud of them because they've turned out to be very responsible young ladies," Terry said.
According to Jacee, working at the cookie store has been beneficial and she's grateful for the work ethic she developed.
"Having a work ethic was very important for my parents and...it wasn't just an easy job," Jacee said. "It was actually a job that I needed to stick to and I have for a really long time now."
For both Jacee and Tristy, the best aspect of working at the store are the customers old and new they encounter each day.
"Around the holidays it's really fun. It can get hectic, but it's really fun around here because you get a different crowd everyday," Jacee said.
Tristy said she also enjoys the regular customers that frequently visit the shop because it's fun and rewarding.
"I have so many regulars because I have been here so long...It's just excited seeing people come up here. It's really like my second home. It's a job I love," Tristy said.
The manager explained she's grown over the years and has developed a talent for decorating the cookies.
"I love decorating and I didn't think I would progress as much as I have in my art work and so seeing myself being able to do this...it's just really cool," Tristy said.
Jacee explained she's also grown in the business as she's recently became assistant manager and graduated from Epic High School.
For the 18-year-old, partially running a business has its challenges, but she loves the shop and hopes to continue working at Mrs. Fields.
"It's been challenging at times, but it's taught me a lot and it's made me grow up and see things from a better view," Jacee said. "Times have not always been easy, but the good times have always been worth it."
Tristy said she feels the same way as she's been running the store since she was 18 and couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Terry said both his granddaughters have what it takes to run the store and keep it successful.
"I have no doubt. They grew up with it. They know it..." Terry said.
Both Jacee and Tristy said they are grateful for their grandfather's pride and are glad to follow in his footsteps.
"It makes me really happy and gives me the validation that I am doing my job right because I feel like most people feel like I work here because it's my family's business, but obviously they wouldn't let me stay here if I wasn't doing my job right," Tristy said. "It makes me proud."
For both girls, they explained working with their sister is fun and at times challenging, but overall they have a great professional and personal relationship.
"We have a six year difference and no one would expect us to be as close as we are, but she truly is my best friend and working with your best friend is awesome, but also it being your sister she can keep you in line and that's why she's the manager," Jacee said.
While she's in charge, Tristy explained Jacee is the best partner to have because she's responsible, hard working and has her sister's back.
"She knows what I am thinking. Working here, we're always right behind each other, helping each other out," Tristy said. "She is my sister so she's not just going to just let me do it on my own...She just gets it."
As time goes on and his granddaughters continue to run the store, Terry said he hopes the business is still there in 20 years and Tristy and Jacee are happily serving cookies to the community.
"I hope that we go for another 20 years and maybe more after that. Everybody loves these cookies and I love working here and seeing all the kids come up and their face just get excited," Tristy said. "I just hope we can keep going and maybe get bigger."
In addition, Tristy said she hopes to attend college for business and join her grandparents on the ownership side and Jacee is attending classes at Seminole State College and will also continue her work at Mrs. Fields.
For more information visit https://www.loc8nearme.com/oklahoma/shawnee/mrs-fields/3856518/.