A cookie delivery service can be dangerous.
It was a discovery Scott Rosen made soon after he opened Tucson Cookie Co. in August 2013.
The company makes and delivers warm cookies as late as 3 a.m. to the University of Arizona area. Cold milk and ice cream are additional options.
Rosen said a UA student placed about 20 orders during the fall 2013 semester. When one of the drivers was making a delivery to someone else, the student went up to driver, slapped him in the face and blamed the company for her “freshman-15” weight gain.
A former UA student, Rosen said he opened the business as a response to Tucson’s limited late-night food scene.
“When I was in college, I saw some different places like this around the country,” said Rosen, 29, who is originally from St. Louis.
“And as I grew up and moved from here, I saw some other ones, and I thought this was a great idea and something that was missing (in Tucson).”
Rosen’s goal is not to fit into the trend of gourmet dessert shops, but to be something that makes people happy by reminding students of home.
“I really wanted to be like what grandma used to make,” he said. “I want them to be more homemade. I don’t want them to be necessarily round every time.”
That feeling of happiness is what keeps 20-year-old UA student Taylor Poe a Tucson Cookie Co. customer. And she hopes it spreads.
The company “needs a little more publicity because it’s kind of under the radar,” she said, adding it’s a sweet alternative to the tried-and-true late-night pizza delivery.
The idea is simple, Rosen said: after customers place orders online or by phone, the cookies are baked and delivered — 15 minutes is the average time — within a 3- to 5-mile radius of campus.
Tucson Cookie Co. has seven flavors — chocolate chip, cookies and cream, peanut butter, ginger, M&M’s, sugar and white chocolate macadamia — available in individual and pizza sizes.
Pizza-size cookies are served with ice cream and all cookies can be ordered with milk.
An individual cookie is $1.25, a pizza cookie is $7.50 and a dozen cookies cost $12-$13.
There is no minimum order or delivery fee unless the driver exceeds the delivery radius.
While he doesn’t have a culinary background, Rosen is usually the only one baking in the kitchen, a skill he picked up when he was a student.
“I was a stage major in college, so a lot of times I found myself up late at night, craving sweets and working on paperwork for shows or homework,” he said. “And so I would bake cookies.”
Rosen makes the dough every morning. If they run out of a flavor, they run out of a flavor, he said. He has as many as four drivers making deliveries.
The cookies are baked in the kitchen of Chaffin’s Diner — one of the cookie company’s co-owners is Alex Chaffin. Rosen and Chaffin met when they were members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at the UA.
Rosen left the UA in 2008 to work at a real estate company in Scottsdale. A little more than three years later, he returned to Tucson and was job hunting when Chaffin mentioned he’d like to put his kitchen to use after hours. The business concept required little startup money, so Rosen began to bake.
While the idea has been easy to execute, it hasn’t been perfect. The biggest customer complaint has been delivery time, he said.
“We’re definitely experiencing our growing pains from time to time, but those are happy things to be solving,” Rosen said. “I want to get as many cookies out every night as possible because who doesn’t like a warm cookie?”
While he aspires to open a storefront location near campus, Rosen’s not interested in franchising the business right now.
His approach is low-key — word-of-mouth has been the biggest business generator.
Rosen targets the UA area but said that with 24 hours’ notice he can deliver to the broader Tucson area.
Tucson Cookie Co. closed over the summer and reopened last month at the beginning of the semester, and business has been better than ever, Rosen said.
When a monsoon storm kept students indoors, Tucson Cookie Co. baked 144 individual cookies and 60 pizza-size cookies in one day of operation, or nine hours.
Poe opts for the pizza cookie because, she said, “they come with ice cream, which I really like because I think ice cream and cookies go really well together.”
She’s spreading the word about the cookie company, and her friends back home in Los Angeles are “super-jealous.”
As for this semester, she hasn’t ordered from Tucson Cookie Co. yet but said she’s going to.
“Maybe I’ll do it this weekend, actually.”