December 1, 2009 by USA Post
Insomnia Cookies:Syracuse University got just a little sweeter five years ago.
That was when Insomnia Cookies, Marshall Street’s popular cookie, brownie and ice cream shop, became a late-night food staple for SU students.
The Syracuse branch is now the top store in the chain, beating out 16 other branches on college campuses across the country. “It’s all thanks to the students,” said Todd Laidlaw, manager of the Syracuse store.
“My floor loves ordering cookies as a group – it definitely brings us all together,” said Rachel Moorer, a freshman computer art major. “Plus, it’s delicious.”
Insomnia Cookies is the brainchild of two University of Pennsylvania undergraduates who wanted an alternative to the heavy, greasy food most college students order late at night. The first store opened on the Penn campus in 2003, and expanded to four additional college campuses soon after.
“We have a great reputation on the SU and Le Moyne College campuses, and we get a lot of publicity through word of mouth,” Laidlaw said. “Older students let incoming students know about us, and they mention us on campus tours.”
Although the majority of Insomnia Cookies patrons are college students, the number of area residents customers for the store is on the rise. “People from the hospital, professors, teenagers all walk in, especially at lunchtime,” Laidlaw said. The store’s walk-in business is supplemented by its deliveries – about 80 on a typical weeknight and more on weekends, Laidlaw said.
“I love that it’s open late and delivers – it’s so convenient,” said Alexis Fitch, a freshman history major. Additionally, Insomnia sees an increase in sales in winter, when students want warm cookies delivered to their dorms or apartments.
The menu, which had not changed in three years, recently received an update with the introduction of a new cookie flavor: coconut pecan.
“What sets Insomnia apart is that students are getting a warm, fresh cookie rather than a hard Chips Ahoy,” Laidlaw said. “We’re in a great location in a great place, and things are always getting better.”
The store has also expanded its ice cream selection over the years, introducing more frozen yogurt for the calorie conscious customers. Most of the other Insomnia stores don’t have ice cream machines, Laidlaw said.
The most popular item on the menu, however, is the classic chocolate chip cookie while the least desirable is oatmeal raisin, but each cookie sells well, Laidlow said. “We make thousands of cookies and hundreds of brownies a night,” said Laidlaw. “I couldn’t even tell you the exact number,” he added, laughing.
Increasing the number of goods baked daily are promotions for different parts of the year, from Black Friday specials to end-of-the-year deals. The biggest promotion is the annual April 20th sale, which features eight cookies for $4.20.
“It’s accessible, inexpensive, and quick,” said Alyssa Goldfarb, a freshman marketing major. “Perfect for the college life.”
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