(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
They can be spotted, dressed in orange, sprinting through college campuses on their bikes delivering cookies late at night to hungry college students. But the employees of Sweet Idea are just the beginning of a ground-up venture.
Founded by 24-year-old John Piermarini a little over a year ago, the company that cooks it products in Jamaica Plain and delivers to Tufts, Northeastern, and Boston universities, is slowly growing, expanding its bakery offerings and eyeing other campuses.
“I love to cook and bake, and I was looking for a way to not have to eat everything I made,” said Piermarini, a Somerville resident and Acton native. “I’m living off of it [the company], so it’s a lot of rice and peanut butter, but we’re doing all right, we’re making money.”
Piermarini, a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate who previously worked at IBM, said he was looking to escape the corporate world and go out on his own.
Developing the idea with a few college buddies and friends, Piermarini launched the company with a few employees and a lot of work. Using text messages to take their orders and dispatch riders, the group has developed a cult following on campuses.
“We have people who are just studying and want cookies,” said Piermarini. “Certainly we have plenty of people who are messed up, but we have plenty of customers who are just looking for a good cookie.”
With close to 10 employees, from bikers to cooks, Piermarini said business is steady.
“People are looking for something to eat late at night and we want to fill that void,” Piermarini said. “There is nobody out there who does sweets especially in a way we do; we can do some deliveries in just five minutes because we are on campus.”
With delivery people based in specific areas, the cookies, from chocolate chip to oatmeal, are delivered at a moment’s notice on the back of bikes.
While the cookies and the venture are a pretty sweet idea, Piermarini said the business is more about having fun and thinking creatively.
Using the skills of engineering students at Tufts, Piermarini has been encouraging the development of tools that help his business and pad the students’ resumes. From more efficient cookie trays to advertising light boxes, he wants to help his business and use it as a jump off point for future entrepreneurs.
“There are plenty of students who have all sorts of ideas they want to try out but for whatever reason they can’t; they can’t get the capital, they can’t convince some body it’s a good idea," he said. "So we want to find a way that we can help support those ventures.”
With designers working on making the delivery bikes more efficient to how the cookies are plopped onto the trays, Piermarini thinks the company has the potential to not only franchise itself, but make a little money and enjoy some good cookies.
“It’s a lot of work to make this go, but I don’t mind working like crazy. I have a lot of fun doing this job. I consider success when I can step away and know I can still pay my rent and the company won’t fall into itself,” he said.
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