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What happened to record-setting cookie company?

The Lightning's intrepid researcher answers readers' questions.

Q. Whatever happened to the Immaculate Cookie Company, once based in Flat Rock?

Scott Blackwell started the Immaculate Cookie Company in 1993 baking cookies in his garage in Flat Rock and selling them in plain brown bags. His business took off and by 2002 he was baking in a metal building on Brooklyn Avenue. Many remember that on May 17, 2003, history was made when Blackwell baked the world's biggest cookie – 38,000 pounds of sweet eating (chocolate chip). The feat is a Guinness world record (check out the Immaculate Baking website for the full story). In 2006, Blackwell's company was underwritten by a Massachusetts venture capital firm. Two years later they closed shop in Flat Rock and moved to Golden Valley, Minnesota, home of General Mills. They added a line of mixes and baking dough and replaced the word "Cookie" with "Baking" in their company name. In 2012 Immaculate Baking became part of General Mills, selling mostly dough. You can find Immaculate Baking products at some local grocery stores – but no cookies.

Q. How do you pronounce the name of Wingate University? I have heard it a couple of ways.

I placed a call to the university's branch office here in Hendersonville and the operator welcomed me to Win-gate as in garden gate. That was just too easy so I dug a little deeper. Wingate's main campus is in Union County, NC so I called their chamber of commerce and was promptly informed that they say Win-git, as in "git" along home (in cowboy speak). They contend that only people from outside the area pronounce it differently. I really needed an expert so I found Dr. John Sykes, an English professor at Wingate. "I split the difference," says Sykes. "I pronounce the first syllable 'win,' as in our volleyball team always wins, and I pronounce the second syllable 'get' which is actually closer to the old school way." Sykes also puts the accent on the first syllable. So, now we have three choices – gate, git, and get. I decided to go to the top to Wingate President Dr. Jerry McGee. He pronounces it Win-git but he does change to Win-gate for those not familiar with the institution. It's easier to spell or search online. As a final stab I asked Dr. Keith Cannon of Wingate's Department of Communications who, in turn, polled one of his classes. It seems that the students compromise and call the university town Win-git but the school Win-gate. "You have to sing it that way [Win-gate] in the alma mater, so that's the definitive word for some folks," says Cannon. Gee, could it be that the answer was in a song all along?

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Contact Matt Matteson at