Two University of Connecticut students had the idea to create their own cookie business about two years ago, starting as a small delivery operation limited to the residents in Werth, and growing into a fully operational delivery business out of a rented kitchen facility in Windham CT.
Bryce Bisset, a fifth-semester biomedical engineering major, founded Underground Cookies his freshman year, turning it from a side hustle to a fully-operational business. He also currently runs UConn’s CEO Club.
“In terms of getting a lot of the registration, licenses and upfront expenses, it has definitely been a lot of work that I put in over the summer and over my sophomore year,” Bisset said.
Bisset runs the company alongside fellow UConn students Tim Watson and Ardit Gjonbalaj, who is also the company’s website developer.
His passion for cookies started around the time he was in middle school, when his dad would bake cookies.
“My dad used to make them from scratch off of some online recipe. He made them at home all the time, and I loved whatever recipe it was. But eventually, he just didn’t make them as often as he used to, and of course, I just loved cookies, so I taught myself the recipe,” Bisset said.
Since learning how to bake, he and his father have been going back and forth trying to figure out the perfect cookie recipe.
“I’ve been a lot more precise with some of the chemical details while he’s been trying to mix in some crazy different things to his recipe, but I’ve got it to the point now where it’s something that is pretty easily scalable, that I can make in bulk and that I’ve really refined to something that I really enjoy,” Bisset said.
He started testing his cookie recipe out of the Peter J. Werth Residence Tower community kitchen during his freshman year where he was living.
“I bought equipment and supplies and bulk cookie baking ingredients from online stores, and I made my first rough draft of the underground cookie in the communal kitchen in Werth,” Bisset said.
At Werth, he would make large batches of cookies and go floor to floor with his friends to deliver cookies to students in the residence hall.
Bisset has grown this operation from the Werth kitchen to a cookie delivery service run out of CLICK Willimantic.
CLICK Willimantic is a kitchen facility located in Windham, CT
., which provides a space for catering businesses and other food companies to operate out of.
“I will make my cookie dough in advance, and during our nights of operation, I go there and use their bakery kitchen to bake the chocolate chip cookies using the dough I’ve made from scratch,” Bisset said.
Bisset says once the cookies have been taken out of the oven, they are packaged and put into insulating devices before they are sent out for delivery to ensure the cookies stay warm during the 18-minute drive from Windham to Storrs.
“A big part of our motto as a business is to provide people not only with the best chocolate chip cookies they’ve ever had, but also one that tastes like it just came out of the oven,” Bisset said.
Once the customer places their order through the underground cookie website https://www.undergroundcookies.net, the orders are sent out for delivery once every hour between 8 pm and 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
“If you order cookies for delivery off our website, you can select for them to be delivered between 8–9 pm, between 9–10 pm, 10–11 pm so on, and so forth,” Bisset said. “Once we close that delivery option, we essentially bake the cookies immediately, package them, put them in our box and send them out for our first delivery, so they arrive at Storrs right at the beginning of that time block.”
So far, Underground Cookies has partnered with three different on-campus clubs and organizations; Moon Club, Student Union Board of Governors (SUBOG), and the Werth Institute.
Nicola Wilk, the vice president and social media manager for Moon Club, said, “the premise of Moon Club is hanging out under the moon, praising the moon and just like hanging out with people and having a good time.”
Wilk said a tradition of Moon Club is to provide cookies from Insomnia to people who register for them.
When Moon Club partnered with Underground Cookies, they predicted 100 cookie orders and received 307 orders.
Due to the large scale of the event, Bisset only ended up sponsoring half of the event, and Moon Club leaders ended up ordering Insomnia Cookies to fulfill the rest of the orders.
“That was just a crazy social event. It turned out that there was something like 5-6 hundred people there. People were just listening to live music, enjoying cookies and enjoying the moon. It was a lot of fun, and we were glad to be a part of it,” Bisset said.
Wilk says many students were choosing Underground Cookies over the counterpart Insomnia Cookies, and noted that Moon Club will be using Underground Cookies for future meetings.
“I believe that since it’s a local business, it’s worth trying, and it’s a cookie, so I can’t really complain,” Wilk said.
Bisset hopes to take the company as far as possible during his time at UConn and after graduating.
“The potential for the cookie delivery market and, just, for good cookies, in general, can explode in this market is massive it’s something that’s already happened before with Insomnia it’s happening right now with ‘Crumble’, and it’s something that I would really like Underground Cookies to take apart in as well,” Bisset said.