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(Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Co., L.L.C.)
Wallace "Wally" Amos was born in Tallahassee, Florida July 1, 1936. In 1948 he moved to New York City to live with his Aunt where they often baked cookies together. As an adult, Wally Amos, an Air Force veteran who worked as a talent agent with the William Morris Agency, would send his home-baked chocolate chip cookies to celebrities to entice them to meet and perhaps sign a deal with his agency. Amos hit a plateau working for the William Morris Agency and decided to strike out on his own.
On March 10, 1975, Amos took the advice of some friends, and with $25,000 from singers Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy, he opened a cookie store at 7181 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, naming it "Famous Amos". In the first year he sold $300,000 worth of cookies, followed by more than $1,000,000 in sales in the store's second year of operation. By 1982 the company's revenues reached $12 million.
The store proved so popular that the "Famous Amos" brand eventually branched out to sell cookies in supermarkets, a move that would later be emulated by other specialty stores such as Baskin-Robbins, T.G.I. Fridays, and Starbucks.
In 1985 the meteoric rise began to slow down. That year the company lost $300,000 and had revenues of $10 million. Investors got involved to try and stop the downward spiral, but according to Mr. Amos, they took more of an equity stake each time and did not stay long enough to get the company back on track. By 1988 the company lost $2.5 million. That year the Shansby Group purchased Famous Amos for $3 million. After one year as a paid spokesman for his sold company, Amos quit in frustration.
The Famous Amos brand has gone through a number of owners since inception. Between 1985 and 1989, the Famous Amos company went through four different owners. In 1992 the President Baking Company purchased the brand from The Shansby Group. Then, in 1998, Keebler purchased the President Baking Company. It was then owned by Keebler until the Kellogg Company purchased Keebler in 2001. The brand is now a part of Kellogg's.
Today, there is a sign commemorating the first Famous Amos store in Los Angeles, located at West Sunset Boulevard and North Formosa Avenue in Hollywood.
Wally Amos has created another brand of cookie called "Chip and Cookie", named after two characters he created in the 1980s. The Chip and Cookie brand is owned by Wally himself, and has a slightly different recipe than that of the Kellogg's variation.
The Famous Amos cookie brand has gone through four package designs.
The original package consisted of a round, tin metal box, similar to the blue packages of a European brand of cookies, except that Famous Amos' package was white, and with a photo of what seemed to be a large chocolate chip cookie spinning on Wally Amos' finger. At the direction of famed photographer and television director Nik Visger, Amos himself was pictured on these packages, wearing his trademark straw hat and cotton shirt.
The 1980s packages consisted of small plastic bags that resembled the larger bags of the same material used by supermarkets during that period. They had the brand's name inscribed in small letters, and once again, with a photo of Amos apparently spinning a large chocolate chip cookie on his finger, in a way that was similar to the basketball-spinning trick made famous by the Harlem Globetrotters.
The 1990s packages were much larger than those of the 1980s, with the name "Famous Amos" prominently displayed on the cover. These packages marked the end of Wally Amos' cover appearances, and featured a number of small cookies pictured instead, with a blue ribbon reading "chocolate chip".
The 2000s Famous Amos packages are very similar to the ones used during the 1990s, except for a couple of differences, such as the ribbon's color (almond has replaced blue). Part of Wally Amos' biography is featured on the back of the newest packages.
The design of the 2000s Famous Amos package does not have the biography on the back of the Not for Resale editions, or packages that come in large boxes or packs, usually found at Sam's Club and Costco.
International franchise owners in franchise locations overseas sometimes design their own cookie bags printed with 3D ribbons.
- Smith, Andrew F., Editor; Smith, Andrew F. (May 1, 2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford Companions (Hardcover) (1st ed.). Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. p. 213. ISBN 0195307968. ISBN 978-0195307962. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- A&E Television Networks, LLC, "Wally Amos Biography", "Bio", 2015
- Canedy, Dana (3 July 1999). "A Famous Cookie And a Face to Match; How Wally Amos Got His Hand And His Name Back in the Game". New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
- "Famous' Amos a Keebler Elf". Honolulu Star Bulletin. May 26, 1999. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- President Baking buys Famous Amos, Nation's Restaurant News, Sept 28, 1992. 
- "Short Interest Update on Kellogg Company". Money Flow Index. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
- ""Famous Amos" Shirt". National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- Man With No Name: Turn Lemons into Lemonade, Aslan, ISBN 0-944031-57-9
- The Famous Amos Story: The Face That Launched a Thousand Chips, Bantam Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-19378-5
- Making Mistakes is Natural:Chicken Soup for the African American Soul. Health Communications, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7573-0142-1
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