Company News

One Hot Cookie Coming to Amish Country

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – One Hot Cookie will open its first franchisee-operated store this spring.

Akron-based Barnby Brand recently entered into an agreement with Youngstown’s One Hot Cookie to open a shop in Berlin, Ohio in May. The Holmes County store is the first of several locations Barnby Brand president Robin Barnby said she hopes to open.

The gourmet cookie and ice cream chain has company-owned shops in Youngstown, Boardman and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Bergen Giordani, One Hot Cookie co-founder and president, said Barnby’s enthusiasm, small business experience and “strong passion for gourmet food” make her a good fit for the dessert chain.

“She’s got plans for expansion as a master franchisee, which is super exciting,” she said. “Her willingness to work with us as a young and growing franchise operation is refreshing.”

The bulk of Barnby’s work experience is in the medical field. After 15 years as a nurse with Summa Health, she worked 18 years in the retail pharmacy field for a small northeastern Ohio chain, where she served as vice president of marketing and medical service. In addition, she and a friend started a gourmet fudge business on the side that operated for about four years.

“We knew nothing about business but were very successful,” Barnby said.

After leaving her job with the pharmacy, she took a sabbatical to determine her next move. “I had a lot of great opportunities within medicine, but something just kept not feeling right,” she said.

During that break, she joined a friend and her daughter for a shopping weekend in Pittsburgh late last year, where she same across One Hot Cookie’s store at the Ross Park Mall. Within a couple of bites, she was inquiring about franchise opportunities.

“It was almost magical the way everything came together,” Barnby said.

“Robin’s passion for the opportunity and her background in marketing and gourmet foods made her a perfect candidate for our initial franchisee,” Morgen Giordani Reamer, One Hot Cookie vice president and co-founder, said.

Barnby had intended to open a store in Akron but an opportunity opened in Amish country that she couldn’t pass up, Barnby said. Berlin is the second-most popular tourist destination in Ohio, she said.

Barnby will begin training at the Boardman store this week, Giordani said. “She has the passion and we’ll teach her the technical knowledge. I’m confident she’ll pick it up in a hot minute.”

The franchisee said she still hopes to open a store in Akron next year, and if all goes well, a few more.

In fact, friends she visited with in Florida recently already are working on her to open a shop there. “It was a great, fun conversation,” she said.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.