Craig’s Cookies Continues Growth Strategy with Multi-Store Franchise Agreement [Interview]

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Craig’s Cookies, which Craig Pike began as a way to pay his phone bill by selling the treats over Facebook and Instagram in 2013, has signed a multi-location franchise development agreement with Ontario-based LLH Loose Change. 

LLH Loose Change Holdings will open a minimum of five Craig’s Cookies stores, primarily at major regional shopping malls. The company principals are long-time friends and business partners Jay Lee, Bernie Li and Chris Hornung.

“We’re thrilled to embark on this adventure alongside Craig’s Cookies,” said Lee. “We’ve been big fans of Craig’s Cookies ever since they opened their first location in Parkdale. Since then, we’ve been to several locations and continue to be impressed by the consistency of the service and quality of the product. When we learned they were franchising, we jumped at the opportunity. We love what Craig has built so far and are extremely excited to be a part of the growth of this amazing brand.”

Craig’s Cookies at Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Image: Craig’s Cookies)

Pike said the franchise partners bring with them a great deal of experience and share the vision for the brand.

Craig Pike

“They truly understand what we are all about. They are committed to providing the very best service and products to our amazing (and growing) diverse customer base,” said Pike.

“Our aim is to work with the very best franchise partners to open Craig’s Cookies in the locations best suited to deliver our unique customer service and creative approach. Our vision is to be the leading premium cookie business in Canada, by offering our franchisees an unparalleled business opportunity in their local communities. Our mission is to celebrate the YUM factor in the chocolate chip cookie, while honouring diversity and inclusivity. We provide our franchisee family with extensive initial and on-going training and support, impactful marketing and a respected brand name.”

There are six corporate Craig’s Cookies locations and one franchise. In July, the brand opened its first franchise location in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It offers customers chocolate chip cookies with a wide range of toppings and flavours through its retail locations and also ships Canada-wide.

InnoFran, specialists in franchise development helped in facilitating the agreement for Craig’s Cookies and LLH Loose Change.

“Craig’s Cookies presents a fantastic concept and an exceptional avenue for franchising. Since the initiation of the franchise program, the momentum has been unceasing. This progression stands as a captivating and organic advancement for the brand,” it said.

Craig’s Cookies at 106 Queen St Unit E in Niagara on the Lake (Image: @streetsofnotl)

Pike said during COVID and lockdowns a couple of years ago he noticed that the brand was quite strong so he decided to open a couple of stores in Leslieville, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“And once those six locations were open the brand was continuing to be very, very strong and based on my want and personal need to be involved in the arts which is my gig before I started Craig’s Cookies, I wanted to continue to celebrate the strength of the brand but not open specific locations myself,” he said. 

“And so instead of having corporate grow and having my involvement grow I decided to grow the franchise route because it would be a great way for Craig’s Cookies to expand, to reach different neighbourhoods, different communities in southwestern Ontario and then eventually across Canada.

“The really interesting thing about franchising is that it does give many, many people an opportunity to be able to start their own business in a way. We’ve had quite an extensive reach out from folks all across the country. In meeting folks, it’s really important for me to be very specific with who I would like to do work with and to do business with.

“We see as projections the potential of about 10 to 15 in southwestern Ontario and then in major cities across Canada.”

Craig’s Cookies Grand Opening at 106 Queen St Unit E in Niagara on the Lake (Image: Craig’s Cookies)

Pike said the company’s strategy is to grow the brand in the future through franchising but if an opportunity comes his way to be able to open another corporate store that would not be off the table. Also, there is potential to reach into the U.S. market eventually.

Pike said he is shocked and amazed about where the brand is today compared to when it first started.

“I’m very grateful and humble. I never ever thought when I was making cookies in my home 10 years ago, delivering on my bike, that there would be an interest in Craig’s Cookies nationally. And it’s a testimony to not only the products, my mom’s recipe of the chocolate chip cookie, but the hard work of everyone that’s involved in the company,” he said. 

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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