After leaving a trail of crumbs at other college campuses, a cookie company is heating up the late-night delivery market at VCU.
Campus Cookies, a cookie delivery business founded seven years ago in Harrisonburg, Va., opened its newest location this week at 935 W. Grace St. – prime territory for pursuing hungry Richmond college students.
Campus Cookies sells 20 flavors of cookies, as well as drinks, ice cream and other baked goods. It delivers orders around the city and will sell retail from its storefront. A chocolate chip cookie costs $1.19. Deliveries typically start around 6 p.m. and run until the early morning hours.
Founder Scott Davidson launched Campus Cookies in 2007 while studying information technology at James Madison University. He targeted Virginia Tech with an expansion into Blacksburg in 2010, went after UVA appetites with a Charlottesville location in 2012 and hit East Carolina University earlier this year.
Davidson was born in Richmond and said he has been aiming for a return to his home town.
“It was only a matter of time,” he said. “I don’t think this is our last stop.”
The company will face competition from the start in Richmond with at least one other late-night cookie delivery service already up and running. Locally based Red Eye Cookie Co. launched in March and sells more than 1,000 cookies a night between its catering services and retail sales, owner Brayden Pleasants said.
“I wish him the best,” Pleasants said of his new competition. “We’re both within a niche, emerging market, but we differentiate a fair deal.”
Red Eye makes its own dough in Sally Bell’s Kitchen near VCU, uses its own recipes, and wholesales to 15 shops around Richmond, in addition to delivery. Its price for a chocolate chip cookie is slightly higher than Campus Cookies’ at $1.50.
Campus Cookies buys its dough from other vendors and has a 1,200-square-foot storefront of its own that it leased after a Chinese restaurant and a leasing office moved out, Davidson said.
Red Eye also sells from a mobile food truck at events like the Richmond Folk Festival and the Washington Redskins Training Camp. And it delivers to the West End on orders of $35 or more.
Campus Cookie’s delivery range extends as far west as the Museum District, according to its website.
Pleasants, 29, started Red Eye after realizing he wasn’t alone in his late-night cravings.
“I like cookies and stay up late,” Pleasants said. “I figured I wasn’t the only one.”
Davidson started Campus Cookies after a bit of old-fashioned market research as a sophomore at JMU.
“The idea came to me from passing out surveys in a few of my biggest classes asking (students) what’s missing from their college experience,” he said.
Davidson said the response was that pizza and Chinese food delivery was abundant, but students still lacked a way of getting something sweet delivered.
On his first night in business in Harrisonburg, Davidson said he had one order to fill. Now the company fills between 50 and 100 orders a day there.
“It’s pretty sporadic,” Davidson said. “The product is fairly impulse-based.”
Scott – welcome to Grace Street….glad to hear you’re up and running!