Sweet news: Crumbl Cookies gourmet bakery opening Niceville, Destin locations in early 2022

Savannah Evanoff
Northwest Florida Daily News

NICEVILLE — Josh McDonald finds Crumbl Cookies different from other franchises.

Namely because the cookie crumbles differently every week.

McDonald, the owner of the upcoming Destin and Niceville locations, said one of his favorite aspects of the gourmet cookie bakery is that it swaps menus weekly. Customers can preview the new flavors Sunday nights on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.

“The milk chocolate chip cookie is going to be on the menu; that's the staple cookie that never leaves,” McDonald said. “There's always going to be some sort of sugar cookie, a sugar cookie base with some sort of frosting. And then there's always four specialty cookies. So Crumbl has now about between 150 and 200 flavors that they rotate through, four at a time.”

McDonald plans to open the Niceville location in mid- to late January at 1552 John Sims Parkway E. near Publix, followed with the Destin location in March at 4447 Commons Drive E., Suite 112.

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Josh McDonald, operator of the new Crumbl Cookies shop in Niceville, is looking forward to a mid-January opening. He hopes to open another shop in Destin in March.

McDonald has been familiar with Crumbl since he went to college in the same city the company was born: Logan, Utah. He has seen them everywhere he has lived, from Phoenix, Arizona, to most recently, Las Vegas, Nevada.

McDonald was working as a Las Vegas police officer a year ago when his former college roommate pitched him an idea.

“He was opening a Crumbl in Orlando, and just said, ‘Hey, I know you have family in Florida. If you have any interest in franchising, this is a great opportunity. It's a unique franchise model, a unique concept, and there's really nothing like it in that area,’ ” McDonald said. “From that point, we explored the possibility over a few months and put together the business plan and got in contact with Crumbl corporate to get franchise approval.”

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Going from cop to cookies isn’t the craziest concept. McDonald learned a lot from his former job, he said.

Crumbl Cookies has a new menu of cookie flavors each week, which it reveals on social media the Sunday night prior.

“I trained new police officers, so I felt that, that put me in a good position to start running a business, to manage personnel responsibilities and connect with not only employees. Crumbl, with as much as it does on social media, has a pretty young customer base and employee base,” McDonald said. “I feel that I can connect with that younger generation as well as customers and being personable and being able to drive business. It was a good transition period to make that risk-versus-reward jump from the stable to the entrepreneurial side.”

The nearest Crumbl locations are Pensacola and Tallahassee.

McDonald had no problem choosing Destin, which is where his parents live. Northwest Florida schools are better, too, for him and his wife Joani’s three children: Cooper, 8, Everly, 5 and Miles, 2. The whole family is “very excited,” he said.

“The big motivating factor for us was being close to family, having a place for our kids to be around cousins and their grandparents and things like that, so they're happy,” McDonald said. “My kids tell everyone that their dad is gonna own a cookie shop. They're really excited about it. They’re telling their teachers and things like that they will have cookies for them soon.”

McDonald is a cookie guy, too.

“I’ve always had a sweet tooth,” he said. “There's not a whole lot of businesses like this in this area that specialize in desserts and bakeries and cookies specifically, so that's what drove us to do this. Sweets has always been a big thing for me.”

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One of his favorite cookies is the classic pink chilled sugar cookie.  

“It’s not an every-week cookie, but it's on there frequently,” McDonald said. “It's a chilled sugar cookie with their signature pink frosting on top. It’s served chilled, so it's taken straight from the refrigerator into the box with frosting on it. As far as the specialty cookies go, they recently had a churro cookie that was really good.”

Crumbl Cookie sells cookies in boxes, singles or in bulk for catering.

Customers can order directly from the Crumbl App, using a loyalty program that earns free cookies. Crumbl doesn’t have indoor seating, but instead offers delivery through DoorDash and UberEats, curbside pick-up and to-go orders.

“It's all pretty COVID conscious, trying to get people in and out, not confined in spaces,” McDonald said. “We have party boxes that have 12 cookies, we have six-cookie boxes, we have four-cookie boxes, and then you can buy single cookies as well."

Crumbl also offers catering orders with full-sized 4-inch cookies and mini cookie options, he said.

“If you have an event, a wedding, anything like that, a PTA function, then you can order cookies ahead of time.” 

Crumbl is a fun company, McDonald said.

“It's an open concept bakery environment, so when people walk in the door, they're gonna see us mixing dough, balling dough. They're gonna see the ovens operating and putting pans in and out of the ovens,” McDonald said. “That interactive experience is what Crumbl looks for. Our goal, every time anyone walks in the door, is to provide top-notch customer experience, and we try to do that through our culture, our attitudes, our service, and then the product that that we're offering. Kids like to come in and see what's happening.”