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Count on Crumbl Cookies being worth the wait for fans of the dessert shop chain who have anticipated its first Southwest Florida opening since announced last year that a franchise was coming to North Naples.

After a ribbon-cutting and soft opening Thursday morning, the grand opening for Crumbl’s first regional location is Friday in the former Buff City Soap space in the retail center in front of the Regal cinema on Naples Boulevard. Disc jockeys will create a party atmosphere Friday as the first customers leave with Crumbl’s signature pink boxes of cookies. “We’re excited to be the first to offer Crumbl to Southwest Florida, the best cookies in the world,” said Benjamin Rattner, who co-owns the Collier County franchise with his wife, Ginny. “We’re really excited to offer it to the community.”

The Rattners have hired about 80 part-time employees, mostly teenagers, to launch their first franchise. Patrons will be able to see the staff in action preparing the fresh baked goods. “It’s an open kitchen. When you walk in you can see the ovens and see everything baking,” Rattner said.

The shop offers six varieties of cookies each week from a rotating menu of more than 200 options. While the popular milk chocolate chip cookie is a constant, the other five choices will vary with favorite flavors and original recipes such as S’mores, key lime pie, cotton candy, dulce de leche, molten lava, peppermint bark, caramel popcorn and buttermilk pancake. On Sunday nights, a social media drop announces the new flavors available for that week.

“Some are chilled, some are warm, depending on what you order,” said Rattner, noting that his personal go-to flavors are the carrot cake cookie and the standard warm chocolate chip. Ginny Rattner’s favorites are the cornbread cookie and the lemon poppyseed. Some of the cookies crumble, of course, some are more cakelike and some come baked in pie tins similar to a pie or a miniature cake.

The shop offers orders of single cookies, four-packs, six-packs and party packs with a dozen cookies. “The most popular are the four-packs and six-packs,” Rattner said. “If they order a six-pack, they can try one of each flavor for that week.”

While in-person ordering is only available initially, curbside pickup and catering is planned to start Aug. 17 with delivery through DoorDash and UberEats. Nationwide shipping is available via the Crumbl app and website. 

Crumbl is open later than most businesses to cater to a late-night crowd seeking a sweet bite after a dinner, movie or bar excursion. The Rattners are hoping their proximity to Regal cinema and nightlife spots such as Miller’s Ale House and the future Shea’s Lansdowne Street will prove complementary. “It’s busy on Naples Boulevard. We’re hoping for good traction,” Ben Rattner said.

Crumbl, founded five years ago in Utah, already has nearly 500 locations nationwide. Expect additional locations of Crumbl in Collier and Lee counties soon. The Rattners plan an additional location in the Naples area and another franchisee is planning Lee County locations. Earlier this summer, Crumbl leased 1,800 square feet of retail space in Cape Commons at 1519 NE Pine Island Road in Cape Coral.

“Our goal is to expand in Naples,” Rattner said. “We’ll just have to take one day at a time here and get this one up and running and successful.”

For the Rattners, the Crumbl opportunity provides a local homecoming. “While just having moved to Naples from Colorado with our two children, it feels like coming home. Naples holds a special spot for both of us. It is not only where we met, but also where both of our families live.” Benjamin had been visiting Naples for years while Ginny received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Crumbl, 6270 Naples Blvd., Unit 3, will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and closed Sundays.

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