Tiffany White, store manager, prepares cookies at Country Cookies, 206 S. Belt Highway, on Thursday. The business is hosting a cookie eating contest today as part of National Bakery Day.

A local cookie store is celebrating National Bakery Day with a cookie-eating contest and customer appreciation day.

“Retail Bakers of America invented the holiday to promote small, independent bakeries across the United States,” said Heather Mitchell, operations manager at Country Cookies.

This is the second year for the big day but the first time the local store has made a point to plan activities around it, Mitchell said.

Country Cookie, 206 S. Belt Highway, will start the contest at 4:30 p.m. today.

“We have 12 seats available, and as of right now, four of them are filled, so there’s plenty of room,” Mitchell said.

The cookie-eating contest is $5 to participate in, and contestants eat as many chocolate-chip cookies they can in 3 minutes. Whatever cookies are left over, they get to keep.

“We will have milk or water to wash everything down with,” she said.

Customers also can help the business support the Second Harvest Community Food Bank by bringing in a canned good. Those who bring in a canned food may purchase up to four dozen cookies at $5 a dozen.

“It’s just really important to give back to the community,” said Tiffany White, store manager. “We really want Country Cookie to be a community-driven business and show the town that we really do care about them as well.”

While Country Cookie prides itself on its legacy recipes, the bakery is introducing two new flavors. Mitchell and White were at a candy show recently and stumbled upon a small company that makes toffee from scratch. The owner suggested it would be good in cookies.

“We purchased some and we’ve been experimenting for three weeks with it,” Mitchell said. “We’ve come up with a couple of different blends that we like and we’re going to introduce them as samples (on Sept. 14).”

The store also will have its new energy balls available as samples.

“Three clean ingredients,” she said. “It’s just a healthier option for folks. It’s gluten free, too. So it’s an option for those folks that can’t do flour.”

For more information, call 816-676-2000.

Jenn Hall can be reached at jenn.hall@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.