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SAVOR Crumbl franchise co-owner talks about the sweet business of cookies
by Andrew Davis
2023-09-07

This article shared 3742 times since Thu Sep 7, 2023
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When it comes to success stories in the world of sweets, few companies and brands can compare to Crumbl and its signature pink box.

Started by Jason McGowan (CEO) & Sawyer Hemsley (COO) in 2017 in Utah, the cookie-focused Crumbl—which features a weekly rotating menu of the huge items—has blossomed from a humble store into more than 900 locations nationwide, including more than 30 in Illinois, including several in Chicagoland.

One of those locations is in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood at 1441 N. Wells St., where co-owner Cory Lester weighed in on the chain's almost unparalleled success, among other things.

"My brother [Kevin, who co-owns this Crumbl with his wife, Meredith] and I are originally from Idaho," Lester said. "My brother had been out here for about 10 years but he has a condo in Utah—which is where he was introduced to Crumbl, in Park City. From there, they tried it and thought this would be a great concept to bring to Chicago.

"He called me and asked what I had going on. I had just graduated from Boise State University, and I thought it would be great to get some business experience—but I thought it'd be great to work at a Crumbl first, so I started working at an Idaho location. I worked there for about six months and we decided that we needed one of these in Chicago. My wife and I moved out here and got things started.

"Once we saw the product and the love the customers had for it, [the store] was something we had to do."

Regarding those rotating flavors (of which there are more than 200—six of which are offered each week), Lester said the company designates which ones will be sold. "Corporate comes out with the flavors, so every Monday they do rotate," although they're notified each Friday so they can order the right ingredients, he said. "I think they do a really good job of balancing the flavors—and there's something for everyone. We'll always have chocolate-chip cookie or semi-sweet, but there are usually five rotating ones each week. And guess what? If you don't like something this week, we'll have a brand-new menu for you next week." (As an aside, this writer hopes the chocolate-cake cookie will always be around, too.)

And having chocolate-chip cookies (which happens to be Lester's favorite) around isn't just a nod to its popularity but it's an acknowledgement of Crumbl's beginnings. "The cookies that started Crumbl were chocolate-chip and pink sugar, and we have the iconic pink wall." (By the way, people take Crumbl very seriously, as witnessed by the subreddits devoted to the comings and goings of various flavors.)

Asked what makes Crumbl unique, Lester answered, "It's a great company with a great product, great brand and great message: Sharing cookies can bring people together. Food is a great connector. Also, it caters to everybody."

Of course, the Old Town location (which, like many other Crumbl locations, is fast-casual and devoid of tables/seats) is a prime one, situated in an area full of upwardly mobile millennials. Lester said the busiest times are lunch and "after 5 p.m., when people start getting off work. When they're done with dinner, they want a little treat. Also, during the summer, people from the Chicago sports leagues sometimes create a really big push."

When asked if there are any drawbacks, Lester said there's been at least one: "I wish we were open longer hours," citing the late-night cravings some people have.

But in the meantime, the Lesters are certainly enjoying sweet success.

For more about Crumbl and to order some of its delicious cookies, visit crumblcookies.com .

Note: This visit was arranged.

More reviews and Chicago restaurant news are at future3733.substack.com .


This article shared 3742 times since Thu Sep 7, 2023
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