Store Showcase: The Original Cookie Company

Cole National Corporation owned several retail outlets that included Children’s Palace and Things Remembered along with optical departments in anchors like Sears and Montgomery Ward. Joseph Cole, the founder of CNC, and a seasoned shopping center retailer in his own right, most likely knew what he was doing when he decided to enter the cookie market in 1976 when he opened The Cookie Place in Youngstown, Ohio.

Cookies for sale at The Original Cookie Company
1983 – Bay Park Square Mall – Wasau Daily Herald

Soon thereafter he was contacted by two gentlemen looking for someone to help rescue them from their struggling cookie chain. Based on the success he had been seeing at his Youngstown store Mr. Cole purchased The Original Cookie Company in late 1977 and attained their 24 existing outlets.

The Origianl Cookie Company Storefront
Photo used with permission from Richard M. Cole & Associates

Mr. Cole did not hesitate expanding his new chain. Despite having no PR presence and solely relying on mall flyers and good old visibility Mr. Cole opened over 90 more successful cookie stores in a little more than five years. Just in time for the cookie wars to really break out in the early 1980’s.

Original Cookie Company concept drawing
Artist conceptual sketch for The Original Cookie Company. Found at Rolling Acres Mall demolition site.

At the same time The Original Cookie Co. was expanding, other cookie outfits were also setting themselves up to become national chains. Mr. Cole would quickly find himself in direct competition with the likes of David’s Cookies, The Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Company of New Jersey and Atlanta based The Original Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Company. But it was Mrs. Fields who would ultimately go head-to-head with The Original Cookie Co.

Photo used with permission from Richard M. Cole & Associates

The Original Cookie Co. was unique from the competition for two reasons. The first, they were the only public chain out of the five national contenders. Secondly their parent company CNC was very used to getting leased space in shopping center locations. This would become very useful when the building of new shopping malls was noticeably coming to a halt in the 1980’s.

Photo used with permission from Richard M. Cole & Associates

The Original Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Company however was easily leading the war with not only the most retail outlets but also with the lowest prices. But for CNC, The Original Cookie Co. was doing well enough to contribute upwards of 4% of the company’s overall earrings. Not bad for a little cookie shop and their multi-million dollar parent corporation.

The Original Cookie Company elevation drawing. Found at Rolling Acres Mall demolition site

Eventually The Original Cookie Co., along with Mrs. Fields, would be attained by Capricorn Holdings, based in Greenwich, Conn. The Original Cookie Co. would start it’s loss of existence in 1996 when Mrs. Fields Original Cookie, or MFOC, was formed.

By February, 2002, there were only 35 Original Cookie franchises in operation with no hopes of any additional stores.

Eating cookies at Waldenbooks, Rolling Acres Mall
Akron Beacon Journal – 1981

“The Original Cookie Company of Cleveland, Ohio, writes that it is against their policy to reveal cookie recipes.” (From The Cook’s Mailbag, The Indianapolis Star, Oct 4, 1989)

17 Replies to “Store Showcase: The Original Cookie Company”

  1. I think The Original Cookie was the best thing that ever happened to The Oaks Mall in Gainesville Florida. I would love to have it back. Those were the best cookies in the world. I wish I owned one here in Gainesville.

  2. This place is a very fond childhood memory. These were the absolute best cookies in the world. I share these memories with my children all the time. No cookie 🍪 in 2020 stands up to these cookies in taste, size, moisture and texture. Why, oh why did they ever leave us!!!

    1. This was my first job! Crossgates Mall Albany NY! I had a dream about the cookies last night, they were the BEST EVER!

    1. I miss the Original Cookie Company at Via Linda Mall, Santa Fe, New Mexico. They were known for their double doozies (cookie sandwiches).

  3. Oh my The Original Cookie at Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, NY was my absolute favorite place to go! I loved the chocolate chip cookie cups filled with colorful frosting and sprinkles and their giant and scrumptious melt in you mouth buttery sugar cookies filled with an M&M candy throughout. Wow… I’m salivating. Lol. Boy do I miss the good ol’ skool days. Places just aren’t like they use to be! My sweet tooth was always ready for an “Original!”

    Sincerely,

    Danielle M. Romano
    06/11/2020.

  4. FINALLY, I found out what happened to the Original Cookie Company. Their cookies were, hands down, the best cookies I’d ever eaten. Ms. Fields’ cookies weren’t even in their league, in my opinion.

    1. Gary where did you find them? And your right Original cookies were the BEST cookies ever!! I used to work for them until Mrs. Fields came along .i would love to fine some to order. I miss that job so much!!!

  5. The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie ever made . The chewiness of them were addicting . If you showed up a half hour before they closed and bought a pound of bit size Chocolate Chip Cookies they would give you two pounds for the price of one . Bring THIS Company and Cookies back – For everyone’s sake . What a great late 1978 to 1981 memory .

  6. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SOME OF THOSE BUTTER COOKIES, THEY WERE THE BEST OF ALL TIMES. I WOULD RIDE FOR 2 HOURS ONE WAY JUST TO GET SOME. I WOULD CALL AHEAD TO LET THEM KNOW I’M ON MY WAY SO THEY COULD COOK ME 2 PANS FRESH. DO ANYONE KNOW HOW I COULD GET SOME NOW?

  7. Me and my family miss the Original Cookie Co. Their cookies were No. 1! Mrs. Fields almost beat them when they opened in Sherman Oaks, CA in the mid 1980’s. They had the butteriest cookies with perfect texture and rich flavor. Then they went cheap and ruined a good thing. Original Cookie Co. was always consistently great and were quite addicting. Was sad when they disappeared. Too often small businesses start and prosper because they were authentic. When they grow to a certain size the big guys gobble them up and are too greedy to keep the integrity of the product and cheapen it down and charge more money for it. That kills the product, oftentimes not able to be duplicated so your favorite products only become a memory. 😞

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *