Baked found out first. And then Crumbl found out.
Two bakeries with the confectionary dream of selling Logan’s very best cookie looked at each other, saw a mirror-like reflection, and opened for business the same week.
The last week in September, cookies flooded Utah State University’s campus. The four chocolate chip cookies came warm to dorm rooms and campus events – some in white boxes from Baked and some in pink boxes from Crumbl. The two companies, both started in part by USU students, were proselytizing based on similar beliefs – people want cookies delivered to their door – but a customer conversion, both companies said, just became more interesting.
Forget the bachelor, the NFL, the Kardashians, or any other drama in your life.. this Baked vs Crumbl rivalry is GRIPPING AMIRIGHT
— Spooky Jace (@thejacegoodwin) September 25, 2017
“If there was just one company, that would be boring,” Baked co-owner Danny Noall said. “People are trying both and there is greater value in competition.”
Both companies have the same basic business model: They bake cookies, deliver them to a customer’s door and hope the simplicity of it all starts the cycle again. Both companies credit East Coast business influences. And both companies saw from Provo-based Chip Cookies, another chocolate chip cookie delivery service, that the business model worked in Utah, too.
It’s not the roots, but the timing and execution that make Baked and Crumbl so different.
Six months ago, Crumbl co-owner Jason McGowan got a bug. He wanted to start a cookie company. It tugged at him for months until one day he said to his Crumbl business partner Sawyer Hemsley, “We’ve got to do it.”
This sent them into a baking frenzy. They went online, consulted neighbors and old family recipes. They brought in tenured bakers and went through iteration after iteration trying to get a perfect cookie. Thousands of dollars in dough and hundreds of hours were gone while McGowan and Hemsley obsessed over getting it right.
They started buying ovens, fridges and industrial mixers three months ago, still before they landed on their final cookie.
It was August when Crumbl got its business license – and Noall decided with his wife to start Baked.
Noall started to do market research. He called Chip Cookies pretending to be a customer and learned they didn’t have immediate plans to come to Cache Valley. He knew at least a few months before competition was in town.
He then made a logo and tentatively set to open before USU’s largest student event, the Howl. Until on Sept. 13, he heard word there would be another cookie delivery service opening in Logan. His investor started to hesitate, so he shifted strategy.
“We decided if we were going to do it, we were going to be first to the market,” Noall said. “It has been the longest and most exciting three weeks of my professional life.”
In eight days, Noall built his company. He drove frantically between Logan and Salt Lake City getting licenses, permitting and establishing an LLC. He made calls around Cache Valley searching for a kitchen where he could start to bake.
“I don’t remember the last night I went to bed,” Noall said.
"what came first: the chicken or the egg"
"What came first: baked or crumbl?"
— rach fresh (@rach_fresh_) September 25, 2017
At that time, McGowan and Hemsley were settling into their pink-walled location at the south end of Logan. They had just secured an article in the local newspaper – and then social media for a company called Baked showed up. They had just finished their cookie recipe.
“Did we get our cookie right?” McGowan recalled saying when he learned of Baked. “I’m glad we spent the time on the cookie.”
Baked finished its recipe the morning they opened.
The two paths finally converged onto the market – and both Baked and Crumbl are celebrating a week full of unexpectedly high sales. They have both been invited to cater events, orchestrated cookie giveaways and placed their focus squarely on their own service.
“We just ignore [Baked] and focus on the customer,” McGowan said. “It’s been a perfect calm. It’s focus on the cookies, on the building, on the delivery, focus on each customer.”
Noall echoed the sentiment.
“We have a great cookie; if this company is going to succeed it’s going to be with the customer experience at the door,” Noall said. “If you treat them good, they’re going to love our company – if you don’t, that will be our downfall.”
Cookies from Baked and Crumbl can be ordered online, and in person at Crumbl’s 540 S. Main Logan location. Baked’s storefront, located next to Fredrico’s Pizza on Aggie Boulevard, is currently under construction.
Baked donates 10 percent of its sales to Racing for Orphans with Down’s Syndrome.
Sooooo campus bake off between baked and crumbl? I'll be a judge.
— Brendon Brady (@brendonbradyy) September 25, 2017
Photos by Holley Stringham
This post was updated to include tweets and information about the location of Baked.