The Chocolate Cult: The Fun Cookie Shop called Baked!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Fun Cookie Shop called Baked!

UPDATE: Baked! Has moved to downtown Bloomington so the photos you see in this review of the store are not up to date. Sisters and Brothers I found this little bakery called Baked! right here in my current city hidden away near the university's downtown stretch.  Well, not really hidden, I've passed while driving a few times but always when I was on the wrong side of the four lane road.  I've been there three times now and below are photos of the shop plus a live interview I recorded during my third visit with one of our Mocha Acolytes and his finance.  This is the first time I've used a live recorder and then had the results transcribed (thank you to our Chocolate and Tea Acolyte for his help) so please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

It’s TammyJo, at Baked of Bloomington, on Tuesday (May 14, 2013).  Jeremy, are you the owner of Baked!?

Yes.  Yes, my name’s Jeremy Ness.  I own it with another gentleman named Jason Vogele.  We bought it, actually, about two years ago, from the founder, who we’d worked under since he started in 2006, and it’s been going nuts ever since.

Is this your only location, or do you have other locations? (Photo of the Orphan display case for left overs from the fresh bake orders.  A great inexpensive way to try out their cookies when you can't decide what you want them to make for you.)

This is currently our only location.  We do have some planning under way for a company on location in Indianapolis pretty soon, and then we’re also getting our framework under way for franchising outside of the state.  So we’re definitely pursuing some growth.

OK.  Well, I kind of understand the Baked! concept of how you order cookies, but would you tell our readers in your own words how that works out? (Play a game while you wait for your cookies.)

Yeah, definitely.  So we make all of our doughs from scratch, from all natural ingredients and everything.  We use the best ingredients we can find, most times, as long as it’s cost-efficient, and we keep all the doughs refrigerated, with nothing else mixed into them, so the customer can choose whatever dough they might like, whatever mix-ins they might like – we’ve got about 25 or 30 different choices that can go inside the cookies, and they can get as many of those combinations as they like, so really they can totally customize to their tastes.  We also have things called after-bakes – they’re things like frosting or slices of candy bars and stuff, such that that we can put on top of the cookie after it comes out, and hopefully it all results in, about 10 to 15 minutes later, in a custom batch of cookies.  We also offer delivery through most of Bloomington.  We have drivers just like any pizza place or sandwich place like that.  We’re open real late; we’re open – well, in the summer it’ll be just 2 to 2, but during the school year it’s noon to 2 a.m. or 4 a.m., depending on the day.

OK.  And are your prices, do they include most of the mix-ins, or is there like a tier system for the different prices of different types of mix-ins?  (More art above door in the lounge.)

Sure.  The only thing that would cost you extra for a certain set of cookie would be a couple of those candy bars that we slice up and put on top afterwards.  But as far as anything that gets mixed into the dough before it goes into the oven, those are all included in the price.  So yeah, if you just want a chocolate chip cookie, then we’ll do that for you, but if you want all the different kinds of chocolate chips, or some raisins and craisins and coconut in there or something, then it’s no extra cost, yeah, we put it all in there as well.  And then we encourage quantity with your ordering as well, so the price per cookie goes down as your quantity goes up as well.

OK. And milk – milk is sort of a big thing, like you get cookies and milk delivered, that’s what I remember – that’s how I first learned about you guys.

Fantastic.  Yeah, they definitely have gone hand in hand since before we started, so yeah, we thought that we definitely needed to offer as much milk as we could.  We currently offer it in little half-pint cartons, just like you’d see in school, which is cool because they’re a perfect single-serving size, and they always bring back good memories from when you used to get those in school.  And also, if you’re going to dine in for here, we can give you just a mug, and you can fill up for all of our milk, just at your leisure, free refills on all that as well.

So you’ve been doing this since 200 …?

Let’s see, I’ve been the owner since 2011; we’ve been in business since 2006.

All right.  Who would you say are your best customers?  Are they college kids, are they people from the neighborhood, or are people now discovering you from all over Bloomington?  (Take a book to read while you wait for  your cookies.)

In the past I would definitely say the IU community and students have definitely been our bread and butter, so to speak; they’ve definitely been who we’ve been serving most, but we’ve – we’re finding more and more that, we kind of joke around about there just kind of being a different cookie for everybody, and so yeah, we’re definitely getting a lot more young professionals, or just a lot of people saying, “I need this for a meeting that I’m going to,” which is fantastic, because those are the people that are in Bloomington permanently, and those are the friends and families of my friends and family, and everything, so yeah, that’s been our main focus since we took over, kind of broading the community awareness of us, and everything.

How did you come up with the idea for using pizza boxes for the cookie carry out? (The box in the photo is what the sample cookies we received came in that day fresh from the oven.)

While the pizza boxes are now a part of our trademark branding--some in Bloomington can recognize what's in the box even if it doesn't have our logo on it--the decision was purely one of convenience.  In order to serve steaming hot cookies right away, we realized that we wouldn't be able to stack them into a smaller container.  Wrapping them individually would create too much paper waste, so we figured pizza boxes would be the perfect fit.  

Who does the art work on the pizza boxes? (Photo of the ceiling and walls of eat-in section of shop.)

When we first started in 2006, there was a lot of free time at the shop.  The pizza box artwork stemmed from the creativity of the original crew of managers and drivers.  Whenever there was a quick minute of downtime, a new pizza box piece of art would be created.  These days, there isn't usually a free second to spare, but luckily the customers have picked up right where we left off.  Some of the boxes that look like they've been up forever are some of the original employees'.  The majority of them are created by the customers as they wait for the order.  

Who does the art in the waiting area by the restroom?  I see that some of the pieces are for sale.  If you would be willing to share the artist's name and his/her website or contact information we can mention that in our interview article, too.

The artist's name is Jacob Gardner.  He also goes by Painter Jake.  Honestly, we're not too sure how to get a hold of him.  He can definitely be described as a wandering artist.  We're always glad to see him though, and whenever he comes around we always buy huge amounts of his art.  The customers have gotten to know him pretty well through his feature at Baked!, and they can also find him selling many of the same style paintings on Kirkwood Avenue, or just about anywhere else in Bloomington where there will be a lot of people.  

Over all shot of the ceiling in the lounge area where we waited for our fresh baked cookies.

Well, thank you so much for interviewing today.  Is there any final thoughts you’d like to give our readers? (Chalkboard tells you how to connect with Baked!)

Well, I love the name, “The Chocolate Cult.”  I perused the blog a little bit, and I definitely like what you guys do, so I hope that all your followers come to enjoy Baked!  Thanks so much again for your interest in the store!  We are glad that chocolate, desserts, and gourmet food in general is getting more attention these days.  If you need anything else, don't hesitate.

I want to thank Jeremy and everyone at Baked! as well as my two buddies for going with me for this interview and photo shoot as well as my transcriber (our Chocolate Tea Acolyte).  So Sisters and Brothers, what do you think?  Have you been to Baked! of Bloomington before?  What did you think?  Do you think you'll check them out now?  Leave us some comments and let us know.

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