MANHATTAN — Insomnia Cookies manager Rafi Safadit, 23, thinks he knows what's driving business at the late night cookie delivery service's new Second Avenue storefront on the Upper East Side.
"I leave the door open," he said as he pulled yet another tray of freshly-baked cookies from the oven. "It brings people in."
Whether customers are drawn there by word of mouth or the mouth-watering smells, Safadit says the store at Second Avenue and East 82nd Street has done better in its first two weeks than any of the businesses other brick-and-mortar stores.
The aroma was enough to entice personal trainers Alex Matosov, 23, and Nedra Lopez, 28, who have a fitness studio on the Upper East Side, who bought four boxes of the cookies, peanut butter, chocolate chunk.
"We're promoting the wrong thing," Matosov said of the sweet treats that are not part of his normal diet. He said the boxes would be holiday gifts for their UPS driver and the staff that help at their studio.
"We usually go to Levain, all the way on the Upper West Side, but this is closer," Lopez added.
Begun as a late-night delivery service at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Insomnia Cookies operates more than a dozen storefronts nationwide. The Second Avenue store is the fourth in New York City.
Safadit said business is brisk late at night, when all four locations are inundated with orders. But the Upper East Side location also has a formidable after-school crowd.
"Over here, we get a lot of kids coming in," he said.
Mom Michelle Stevenson, 38 of the Upper East Side, decided to beat the rush, coming in just before 1 p.m. to pick out a treat for her kids 12-year-old daugther and 8-year-old.
"My daughter stopped in with her girlfriend yesterday. She came home and said, 'you have to try it,'" Stevenson said. "As soon as school ends, they'll have cookies. It's Christmastime, and they're good kids, so they deserve a treat."