ObieChunks Offers Late-Night Cookie Option

William Passannante, Staff Writer

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College sophomores Michael Plotz and Alex Hilden want you to get your chunk on. The two are the driving force behind ObieChunks, a new late-night cookie delivery service. The concept behind ObieChunks is simple, but effective. Customers place orders by messaging the group’s Facebook or e-mail accounts. Between midnight and 2 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a delivery person brings them fresh-baked, homemade cookies.

“We thought it would last a month,” said Hilden. “[I was] all right with making $10 a week. I thought that was as big as it was going to get.”

Hilden couldn’t have been more wrong. On recent nights ObieChunks has sold between 150 and 200 cookies. Even with three to four paid delivery people, ObieChunks remains lucrative.

“We consistently turn a profit,” Plotz said. “We’ve never lost money.”

Until recently, the group avoided some start-up costs by using the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association’s kitchen facilities to bake. Using OSCA kitchens limited expenses to ingredients, delivery person compensation and free cookies for the host co-op.

Hilden and Plotz made sure to highlight that ObieChunks purchased its own ingredients and gave the host co-op free cookies. However, ObieChunks was forced to search for facilities elsewhere after formal communications with OSCA on Tuesday.

“[W]e denied ObieChunks permission to use our kitchens,” wrote OSCA President and double-degree fifth-year Paul DeRonne in an e-mail to the Review. “Having a for-profit business operating out of our kitchens is a severe violation of our non-profit tax status.”

The setback has not deterred the entrepreneurs. Though they had to cancel the past week’s orders, Plotz reported that they’ve secured a baking space at a friend’s house and now simply need to procure baking supplies.

Though they may not have conceived of ObieChunks as a long-term project, the pair appear to take its development and expansion very seriously.

“Food business is one of the worst businesses to be in. It’s extremely volatile,” Plotz said.

The pair is working to get cookies to customers on time. In order to address this concern, they brought on College sophomore Rose Stoloff, whose father owns a wholesale bakery, to help organize the business.

Other areas of development include creating a PayPal account which will allow people off campus to order cookies for students.

The success of ObieChunks is partially attributable to an anonymous benefactor. After stumbling across ObieChunks’s Facebook page on his newsfeed, he offered to finance Facebook advertising, potentially up to $250. As of Tuesday, he had paid for around $200 worth of ads. The individual, who had no association with Plotz or Hilden prior to offering them advertising money, makes no money from ObieChunks.

He said that he agreed to fund the ads “out of curiosity and to help someone out.”

“I think all of our posts have approximately 1,000 people viewing them,” said Hilden. “That’s gotta be something to do with the ad money.”

He wouldn’t say whether ObieChunks will definitely continue advertising on Facebook once their donor’s grant runs out.

Regardless, with 562 ‘Likes’ on its Facebook page as of Wednesday night, ObieChunks likely has a large enough customer base to push forward regardless of its advertising presence.

ObieChunks will resume delivering cookies again on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

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