One Smart Cookie

High school student opens retail storefront in Williamsburg

by Kristen De Deyn Kirk

Chris Knight, 17, had an idea since middle school. He moved from Richmond and noticed something about Williamsburg: It didn’t have a cookie store. A few years later, he baked up plans for Cookie Chris, located at 1408 Richmond Road.

But first he tried a recipe easier than retail: Baking cookies at home and delivering them.

“I started baking seriously during Covid,” the senior at Warhill High School says.

During the height of the pandemic, he filled orders, keeping his business model simple. Call in an order; pay by Cash App.

Then he moved from straightforward to storefront this summer.

“I was getting a lot of love and support when I was doing deliveries,” Knight says during a speaker phone call, with his mom, Fran, listening in. “I wanted to give Williamsburg a great experience, a place where they can come in and get a good cookie.”

The store satisfies customers’ eyes as much as their tastebuds. The front, with a pink and blue Cookie Chris sign in the shape of a cookie and “Hot & Ready” and “Freshly Baked” neon blue signs, is lowkey. High key hits inside, where blue walls and pink trim and more neon signs pop against white chairs and tables. Bold and bright—and social media worthy.

“I’ve learned that in the cookie business, customer service is key,” Knight says. “And not just having a great cookie, but when they come in, they also have a great experience. And that’s why we take pictures of our customers, to let them know that we really appreciate them and let them know that they’re part of the Cookie Chris family.”

A visit looks to be memorable for sure. And it’s a good thing: Chain competition—Crumbl Cookies and Insomnia Cookies—aren’t far away. Word of their openings came about the same time as the opening of Cookie Chris.

Knight’s mom declined questions about the competing stores. She focusses on her son’s cookies, describing them as crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. The cost: $3.99 for one; $35.99 for a dozen. Flavors—including Fruity Pebble, Cotton Candy and Iced Oatmeal—rotate. Look for holiday-inspired options coming soon.

Knight, a 4.0 student who’s applying to William & Mary, Harvard, Yale and Princeton with hopes of one day being a lawyer, may or may not be spotted frequently in the store during the holiday season and into the winter. In addition to baking, his hobbies include hoops. This coming up basketball season will be his second as starting point guard for his high school—leaving people to wonder which Knight prefers most: dunking cookies or dunking basketballs.

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