Thu, April 25, 2024

Businessperson of the Month: Michelle Cooper

Michelle Cooper has learned that being a sole proprietor and the only employee can be difficult when juggling health issues and caring for family members. The past two years have been rough, she admits, but she’s not giving up. Her determination is one reason Michelle Cooper, the owner and sole employee of MC Homemade Boiled Peanuts, is the Business Person of the Month for March.

“I have my good days and bad days, and I take care of my father,” Cooper said. “But as long as the Man Upstairs keeps breath in my lungs, I’m going to keep pushing.”

On top of everything else, Cooper stays busy with her nonprofit, One Step At A Time. On her last birthday, for example, Cooper, assisted by her family and friends, delivered a moving truck full of supplies to homeless people at the 13th Street overpass.

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“We had clothes, shoes, money for food, and more. My spare bedroom was packed with donations, and I stayed up all night the night before, cooking food to give out,” she recalled. “I love giving back. As long as everyone comes together, we can make something happen.”

As for her peanut business, Cooper is hoping to devote more time to it and take it a step further.

“I want to get a good jalapeno flavor, but that might take some more trying,” she said. “I also plan to set up at more events, get some help for deliveries, and open a store in the South Augusta area.”

Cooper began MC’s Homemade Boiled Peanuts in 2020, but her journey really began in 2008.

“I went to the hospital with an asthma attack and caught pneumonia in both lungs. My right lung fully collapsed, and my left lung partially collapsed,” she recalled. “I was on life support for 18 days and in the hospital for a month and a half.”

She also had several strokes and wound up in a wheelchair, being told she’d never walk again.

“I had been a general manager at IHOP, and not working was depressing. I really missed working with people.”

That changed, though, when her brother visited and let her have some of the boiled peanuts he’d bought.

“They were so tasteless, and I just knew I could do better,” Cooper said. ‘So, I got in the kitchen and started working.”

Today, MC Homemade Boiled Peanuts offers the following flavors: original (with and without salt); Cajun; sweet and spicy; lemon pepper; salt and vinegar; and the most recent addition, dill pickle. She is still working on a good jalapeno flavor and is considering a margarita flavor.

“I’m so very proud of her,” said her father, Michael Cooper. Michelle is quick to point out that the MC in her business name is an acronym for her name and her father’s.

Orders can be picked up or delivered and come in sizes ranging from 12 ounces to 1 gallon.

“With all of my health issues and the depression that followed, I never thought I’d do anything like this. I’m just glad my brother visited with his tasteless peanuts,” she said with a laugh.

For more information or to order peanuts, call or text Cooper at (706) 516-8316 or send her a message on Facebook.

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