Midnight Cookie Co. specializes in late-night craving satisfaction, courtesy of smartphone apps. It opened locations in Edmonds/Shoreline and Everett in 2018. (Midnight Cookie)

Midnight Cookie Co. specializes in late-night craving satisfaction, courtesy of smartphone apps. It opened locations in Edmonds/Shoreline and Everett in 2018. (Midnight Cookie)

Cookie delivery proving to be perfectly baked for these times

Midnight Cookie Co.’s new owner is seeing a sales uptick during the quarantine.

By Jana Hill / Special to The Herald

When Paul Quinn decided to get back into the food business a decade after closing a cake shop, the timing could not have been more inopportune.

It was late March, and the coronavirus emergency had shut down Snohomish County and the rest of the nation.

Quinn and business partner Manish Gaudi had taken the reins at Midnight Cookie, which sells fresh-baked goodies at locations in Everett, Edmonds and Seattle. The business, founded in 2017, specializes in delivering cookies to your door until 1 a.m.

The quarantine-friendly home delivery service, along with what Quinn called channeling his “inner Martian,” enabled Midnight Cookie to survive and thrive.

“Inner Martian” refers to the recent movie in which Matt Damon plays an astronaut marooned on the Red Planet. He survives by focusing on and solving each problem, one at a time. In Midnight Cookie’s case, Quinn and Gaudi reviewed their business plan, consulted state regulations on food service during the pandemic, and reported back to their 16 employees.

Since the business was already formed around takeout and delivery orders, the need for change was minimal.

“We’re already set up for this. We’ll just keep going,” Quinn, Midnight Cookie’s COO (cookie operations officer), told the troops. (Gaudi’s title is cookie executive officer, by the way.)

Midnight Cookie saw an uptick in orders, indicating — probably not surprisingly — that when people are stuck at home, they crave sweet comfort.

“People need just a little bit of ‘happy,’” Quinn said, “and cookies are a good way to get it.”

Cookie businesses across the nation are seeing 20% sales growth during the pandemic, according to www.statista.com.

As Quinn and Gaudi planned for the spring 2020 changeover, prepping for menu of 15 cookie types selling for $2 to $2.25 each, plans stayed mostly intact, with just face masks and social distancing as new elements. A commercial kitchen is already focused on cleanliness, but bakeries are a social place, he said. One challenge has been reminding walk-in customers to stay apart.

Midnight Cookie also sells combos, from six cookies for $10 to 24 for $38.50.

Now, Quinn is moving on to another problem: developing a delectable gluten-free recipe. The challenge is texture, and he won’t roll it out until it is just right.

Quinn said he learned cooking basics from his mom. He said he and his brother were latch-key kids who did much of the cooking in their home.

He got into the baking business as an apprentice to Duff Goldman, star of a long-running reality show on Food Network called “Ace of Cakes.” That experience led Quinn to start Jet City Cakes in 2008 — the year the Great Recession kicked off.

He closed his sculpted cake business in 2010 because “I wasn’t making enough money, and I wasn’t having enough fun.”

Since then, he had considered other business endeavors, such as whiskey and beer. But he landed on cookies.

Pricey cakes didn’t do well during down times, but cookies appear to be much more recession-proof. Midnight Cookie’s customer base is hard to pin down, Quinn said. Cookies seem to have a wide reach.

“Anecdotally, it’s all over the map. Everyone loves cookies,” he said.

And the cookies will carry on. Quinn estimates they are currently baking 75,000 cookies a month. He continues to channel his inner Martian, applying focus through a chaotic era with a productive mantra: “Get the cookies baked.”

If you go

Midnight Cookie’s Everett location, where the cookies are baked, is at 607 SE Everett Mall Parkway, No. 8. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The Edmonds location, 9643 Firdale Ave., is open from 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday. Delivery is available within a 3-mile radius of either location. For more information, call 425-512-9127 for Everett, 206-542-7994 for Edmonds, or go to www.midnightcookieco.com.

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