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Around the Columns

Warm cookies to go

cookie

Founded by a trio of MU students from Chesterfield, Mo., Hot Box Cookies bakes and delivers cookies from its Broadway location in downtown Columbia. Photo by Rob Hill

Delivering baked goods after dark isn’t a new concept on college campuses. But three MU seniors have taken a page from the pizza palace and put their own entrepreneurial spin on it.

Hot Box Cookies, downtown Columbia’s newest late-night bakery at 808B E. Broadway, brings warm cookies to the doorsteps of studying students with the midnight munchies. Adam Hendin, David Melnick and Corey Rimmel, all from Chesterfield, Mo., came up with the concept in the spring of 2008.

“We were having a conversation in a friend’s basement, and I was just joking,” Rimmel says, as he kneads a batch of candy-speckled treats. “Adam was serious, though.”

Now, with a vibrant storefront next door to Cool Stuff, the trio of tycoons hope to make some serious dough.

The menu offers four types of cookie dough: peanut butter, plain, chocolate and oatmeal. You can customize every baked-to-order batch with mix-ins — such as Andes mints, chocolate chips or nuts. Throw in a pint of milk or some Buck’s ice cream, and consider your sweet tooth sated. They also offer smoothies and shakes, but the menu is still a work in progress.

“People can’t wait to try the cookies,” Melnick says. “We had banana bread for a while, and even though it was really good, it didn’t sell very well because everyone wants the cookies. We’re still trying to make a name for ourselves.”

The cookies sell for $5.95 for six and $9.95 for a dozen. Hot Box also offers a selection in the display case (for impatient customers) at a dollar apiece.

The store has already become a popular hangout, thanks to board games, late hours and pleasant aromas. With 26 employees to manage, not to mention a full-time class load, the young business owners admit it’s been more work than they anticipated.

But they’re still having fun.

“We’d like our name to be up there with Shakespeare’s Pizza and Booche’s,” Rimmel says. “One of those places where, if you’re a tourist, you have to go see.”