Nationally renown, Honolulu-based entrepreneur Wally Amos is returning to the business that made him “Famous Amos.” He posted the announcement on Facebook, where he’d accumulated the maximum 5,000 friends, asking them in turn to spread the word.
“I am re-entering cookie business,” he wrote. “I will sell three flavors from my original recipe; chocolate chip, butterscotch chip pecans, [and] chocolate chip pecans.”
Amos, now 75, launched the “Famous Amos” brand of cookies in 1975, starting with a cookie store in California and growing to find space on supermarket shelves across the country. His name and likeness became so synonymous with success that he found a career in public speaking and authoring books. Amos even appeared as himself in an episode of the ABC sitcom “Taxi” in 1981.
However, subsequent financial troubles forced Amos to sell the Famous Amos Company, which went on to change hand several more times. Keebler acquired the brand from President Baking Company in 1998 (and had even hired Amos back to promote them), and Keebler was later bought by Kellogg.
In the mean time, Amos fought to stay in business. He tried to launch the Uncle Wally Presents brand of cookies in 1992, but was sued by the company he founded for trademark infringement. He changed the name to Uncle Noname, but the company had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1997. It eventually emerged in 1999 with a line of low-fat and fat-free muffins as the Uncle Wally’s Co.
Throughout these business ups and downs, Amos has continued with writing, public appearances, motivational speaking, and advocating youth literacy — a cause that he’s backed for decades. He even appeared as himself a few months ago on an episode of NBC’s “The Office.”
But now, he’s ready to give cookies another shot.
“Since being sued by Famous Amos, I have been banned from using Wally, Famous, Amos or my likeness as part of [my] brand,” he wrote. “My new company will be called, WAMOS (wā’ • mŭs), From the recipe that made me (fā’• mŭs). I believe it will be a fun way to let friends know I am back in the cookies.”
And Amos credits his Facebook network as vital to finding the support to charge ahead.
“I wanted to make friends when I started Famous Amos,” he wrote. “I succeeded. You can live without a brother or sister but not without friends.”
Nearly 400 of his Facebook friends have ‘liked’ the news so far, posting more than 200 comments.