Black History Month Profile: Wally Amos

A man gifted with the ability to view the world with optimism, Wallace “Wally” Amos, Jr. is the smiling entrepreneur behind Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Growing up, Wally lived with his aunt Della in New York City. It was through her that Wally had his first chocolate chip cookie, a taste he would never forget. Though he never graduated from high school, Wally served in the Air Force prior to working in retail and as mail room attendant at William Morris Talent Agency. Within one year at the talent agency, he was promoted and became the first African American talent agent. 

When Amos left William Morris, he decided to open his own management agency on the west coast and during his free time, he picked up a new hobby – baking. It wasn’t until 1975, when the entertainment industry had taken its toll on Amos, that he decided to modify his Aunt Della’s recipe and start selling chocolate chip cookies. Through his talent agency connections, Amos was able to start his company and open his first storefront in Los Angeles with $25,000 that he gathered from his celebrity friends. In its first year of business, the company sold $300,000 in cookies and by 1982, the company reached $12 million in sales. In 1986, Amos was awarded one of the first Awards of Entrepreneurial Excellence by President Reagan.

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