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Collettey’s Cookies: How Equity Alliance for Business Empowers A Small Business Owner’s Dreams

By Eastern Bank’s Equity Alliance for Business Team, Mar. 21, 2024
Collette Divitto stands in the kitchen of her bakery holding a tray of cookie dough ready to be baked

As CEO of Collettey’s Cookies, Collette DiVitto is growing her small business to create jobs, and inspiration for people with disabilities.

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Determination and a drive to help and inspire others are at the core of Collettey’s Cookies, a Boston-based cookie bakery with distribution across the country.

Collette DiVitto—who is neurodiverse—moved to Boston in 2016 with the goal of laying down her own roots and finding a job. Today, as the CEO of Collettey’s Cookies and head of a nonprofit offering empowerment and classes for entrepreneurs, Collette is a proud woman business owner delivering on a commitment to grow her small business and create jobs and inspiration for people with disabilities.

Collette credits the support of Eastern Bank in understanding and successfully scaling her business. Through Eastern Bank’s Equity Alliance for Business, Collette secured her first-ever small business loan, building upon the personal relationships she has developed with her dedicated banker to support the growth of Collettey’s Cookie’s.


Collette DiVitto moved to Boston in 2016 with the goal of laying down her own roots and finding a job. She was determined to pursue a position that would have a meaningful impact on the community.

Unfortunately, Collette’s job search lasted nearly three years. She secured several interviews and held volunteer positions along the way, but hiring managers continued to say she “wasn’t a fit” for various job openings. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Collette didn’t let this rejection, or the fact she was born with the genetic disorder Down syndrome, stop her. Instead, she took inspiration from her family of entrepreneurs and turned her passion for baking into her own business. Collette’s mother, Rosemary Alfredo, taught her about the key ingredients needed to start a successful business.

Collette’s baking story began in high school, where she developed a love for making cookies after taking a few baking classes. Her signature recipe, an original cinnamon chocolate chip cookie dubbed “The Amazing Cookie,” took off after being sold in a local store, Golden Goose Market. The store owner was quickly impressed and ordered 100 packages of cookies. Shortly after, Collette and Rosemary began working out of a commercial kitchen to fulfil the orders—and then, Collette said her small business “went viral.”

Following an interview with WBZ News, the story of Collettey’s Cookies was picked up nationally and she received 4,000 orders in one week. With the help of several local college students and volunteers, all orders were fulfilled. “It was a really amazing, pivotal moment for her company,” said Collette’s mother, Rosemary Alfredo.

Fast forward a few months, and Collette was honored with the 2017 New Englander of the Year award. At the celebration, Collette and her mother met Bob Rivers, Eastern Bank’s CEO and Chair of the Board, by chance and realized Eastern Bank offered the unique resources Collettey’s Cookies needed to expand. At the time, Collettey’s Cookies was mostly a direct-to-consumer model serving mom and pop retail shop customers. They were introduced to Jose Abreu, who had recently joined Eastern’s consumer retail banking branch team, and opened a small business checking account.

“From the start, I appreciated how everyone at Eastern Bank showed respect and spoke eye-to-eye with me as a woman business owner and entrepreneur. That does not always happen for the neurodiverse community and it meant the world, something my mom and I both appreciated, and it created a strong bond from the beginning to develop our banking relationship.” – Collette DiVitto

Jose focused on learning about Collette’s goals for her business. They discussed how to manage the company’s account balance, pay vendors and capture revenues. As the business continued to expand, it outgrew some of its original operations—such as writing paper checks. Collettey’s Cookies added Treasury Services to its banking services to expedite its work with vendors and suppliers. The implementation of ACH Positive Pay Services automated account debits and credits, and minimized the threat of fraud through written checks.

Collette DiVitto with her Eastern Bank relationship banker, Jose Abreu of Equity Alliance for Business.

Recently, Collettey’s Cookies began working with a business consultant and sales strategist to reach larger retailers. As a result, the business received an influx of new interest and demand, including an order for 10,000 cookies to distribute to employees overseas during the year-end holiday season and a first-ever showing on QVC. While interest in the product boomed, including on social media, there wasn’t working capital to scale up to support the inventory and meet the demand.

As Collette’s business expanded, Jose’s career at Eastern Bank was advancing too all while continuing to serve as Collette’s relationship manager. Promoted to a business banker with Eastern Bank’s Equity Alliance for Business, which advances the growth of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs, Jose recognized the growth challenges Collettey’s Cookies was facing. They discussed how a loan would help add capacity to her business, meet the demand of larger retailers and provide the funding to say “Yes” to larger accounts. Multiple meetings were held with Collette and her accountant and bookkeeping team to work on preparing financial statements—just another part of the Equity Alliance for Business program to support entrepreneurs’ technical assistance.

Through the help of a term loan from Equity Alliance for Business and a cash reserve line of credit to support managing expenses, Collettey’s Cookies was able to open a new, larger kitchen and scale up production. With a team of 15 employees, Collettey’s Cookies is meeting the demand from QVC and other channels.

“Whenever small businesses are at an inflection point, they want to grow but in order to grow they need the demand and then the inventory to support it. The Equity Alliance for Business special purpose credit program provided a crucial term loan and small business financing to have the capital to grow inventory.”
– Abby Nguyen-Burke, Senior Vice President and Equity Alliance for Business Team Leader

The Results

While Collette began her banking relationship with Eastern Bank a few years ago as a deposit customer, it is the relationship with her banker Jose that has become a point of pride.

Working with the Equity Alliance for Business team, Collette secured a loan to support day-to-day business operations, her growing nonprofit work and ultimately, scale her small business to meet the exciting demand for more cookies nationwide. This offering was especially a fit for Collette as it’s tailored for business owners who identify as women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, as well as veterans or individuals with disabilities. Collettey’s Cookies are now distributed by 55 retail stores nationally and two worldwide distributors, with kitchen capacity growing to 15,000 units of cookies a day.

“I am so ecstatic to have the loan. Eastern Bank and my banker Jose are amazing and they’ve done so many things to help me as a business owner see new ways to ensure my company thrives,” said Collette DiVitto, who seeks to hire employees who are trying to overcome hiring hurdles like she did, whether it be a disability or a former incarceration, and looking for another chance.

“Eastern Bank asked how can we support you and took the time to build a relationship rather than see this as a transaction. They understand Collette’s vision for her company in addition to the growth trajectory, and provided the loan that Collette needed to expand her business. There was no other place for us to look.” – Rosemary Alfredo

Plus, Collettey’s Cookies now has a banker resource to turn to for understanding how to best manage the financials of the business, including products like Monit™ for preparation of timely financial statements.

“Seeing Collettey’s Cookies grow is a point of pride for me, and for all entrepreneurs and business owners to know there is a space for them. They can be heard and serviced, and there are different resources for support and to grow your business ideas.”
– Equity Alliance for Business Banker Jose Abreu

To learn more about how Collette is changing the world one cookie at a time, or to place your own order of “The Amazing Cookie,” visit her website here.


Eastern Bank takes the time to understand your business and build a personal bank relationship. To learn more about Eastern’s work with underserved entrepreneurs, please visit the Equity Alliance for Business homepage or speak with an Equity Alliance for Business banker.


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