PHOTO GALLERY: Residents seek out Valentine's Day sweets

Monday, February 14, 2011 | 8:17 p.m. CST; updated 4:25 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Hot Box Cookies manager Connor Griffin ices a heart-shaped cookie cake on Monday. "It's been our busiest day so far," Griffin said.

COLUMBIA — Hot Box Cookies and The Candy Factory were two downtown businesses that were especially busy with Valentine's Day traffic Monday. Hot Box Cookies offered heart-shaped cookies and decorated cookie cakes, whereas The Candy Factory had many customers request chocolate-covered strawberries, a specialty.

Hot Box Cookies owner Corey Rimmel shapes cookie dough into a heart while manager Connor Griffin reads tickets for the next order. Hot Box received hundreds of orders for Valentine's Day. "It's the busiest year we've ever had," Rimmel said.
Candy Factory employee Amanda Davis hands an order form for chocolate-covered strawberries to Diane Rahm. This was Rahm's first time to purchase the strawberries, but not her first time to taste them. "It's a Columbia tradition," she said.
Rossnette Cheatum holds an order form for chocolate-covered strawberries while waiting in line at The Candy Factory on Monday. Although Cheatum thinks her father may be surprising her with a box tomorrow, she came to the store to buy some for herself. "Then I'll have extra," she said, laughing.

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