This fall, students entering Charles Commons will be greeted by smells of chocolate and freshly baked dough emanating from Insomnia Cookies, a national chain offering late-night dessert deliveries that opened on July 22.
“We never fully know what to expect... but we’ve been really pleased with the community and the school and the location,” Megan Brock, senior director of marketing at Insomnia Cookies, said. “All the feedback thus far has been really positive. [People are] just loving that we are on campus and also, obviously, the product...speaks for itself.”
The Bryn Mawr, Pa. based chain began in 2003 in the dorm room of Seth Berkowitz, a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, it has rapidly grown into a national chain with over 50 stores.
According to Brock, the chain has been expanding at a rate of one to three new stores each month. Their cookies have been rated by Zagat and have been featured on ABC News and The TODAY Show.
Although many Hopkins students were unfamiliar with the chain before the Charles Commons location’s opening, the store is now busy throughout the day. Many students, including sophomore Diana Li, have already eaten there multiple times.
“I didn’t really register how great [Insomnia Cookies] was until I ate my cookies, because they’re warm when you get them,” Li said.
Insomnia Cookies worked with Homewood Student Affairs to acquire space for its store in the ground floor of Charles Commons, next to the 33rd Street entrance.
“The introduction of Insomnia Cookies in Charles Commons represents the determination of President Daniels, working with various groups within the university, to increase retail options for students in Charles Village,” Dennis O’Shea, the University’s Executive Director of Media Relations, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Similarly, the University was involved in the placement of food venues below the Village Lofts during its construction and plans to play a part in the development of the vacant lot on the corner of St. Paul and 33rd Streets.
For its part, Insomnia Cookies hopes to retain its current store far into the future.
“We’re looking forward to being on the Johns Hopkins campus for many years,” Brock said. “It’s been a great couple of months for us. We really enjoy the community.”
Last week, Brock was on campus handing free cookie coupons to students and explaining how people can collaborate with Insomnia Cookies for fundraiser events. The cookie store also gained publicity when President Daniels, accompanied by a cookie monster character, passed out free cookie samples.
“We find that the best way to let people know the brand and the cookies are by letting them taste [them] and that the product really speaks for itself,” Brock said.
Insomnia Cookies plans to use its email, Facebook site and Snapchat account to promote deals on its products in the future. Weekly deals can also be found on its website.
The company also recently launched an app, available for Androids and iPhones, which allows buyers to order cookies on their phone. Through Insomnia’s loyalty program, customers earn one point for every dollar they spend, and get a $10 credit at Insomnia when they have racked up 100 points.
Additionally, parents can order cookie packages, which Insomnia Cookies then delivers to students.
“The feedback I’ve heard has been very positive. I’ve even heard of parents excited about a new option for supporting and encouraging their Johns Hopkins students long-distance,” O’Shea wrote.
After tasting Insomnia Cookies, many students, including sophomore Parker Dubee, plan to come back to the store during the year.
“They’re a bit of a pick-me-up,” Dubee said, adding, “It’s going to be a little difficult to get here when it starts snowing.”
Li is also planning to buy more cookies throughout the school year.
Insomnia Cookies, which attracts students and Baltimore residents alike, receives the most customers after 8 p.m. It bakes the cookies in-house throughout the day, ensuring that they are always served warm. So far, the store’s best-selling flavors include Chocolate Chunk, which happens to be Dubee’s favorite, and White Macadamia Nut, which is Li’s favorite flavor.
The Hopkins location of Insomnia Cookies serves all of the desserts in the company’s inventory, along with milk and water. The store contains nine standard cookies and three deluxe cookies, Triple Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and S’mores Deluxe.
It also serves ice cream, brownies, cookie cakes and “Cookiewiches” — two cookies with ice cream between them. The store will likely vary the ice cream flavors that it carries based on customers’ demand.
Insomnia Cookies is able to deliver all of these products mostly within Charles Village and campus; the exact delivery range can be found by inputting an address on the store’s website. Deliveries take 30 to 45 minutes.
Insomnia Cookies is open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. every day. It offers delivery from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends.
Brock is enthusiastic about the store’s prospects and urges more Hopkins students to sample Insomnia Cookies’ products.
“They’re warm, delicious and delivered,” Brock said. “We’re there when you need us… whether you’re feeding a craving or a crowd.”