National dessert chain makes Arizona debut

Great American Cookies offers roughly 20 different fresh-baked cookie selections, in addition to cookie cakes and brownies, among others. (Great American Cookies/Submitted)

Great American Cookies, an Atlanta-based chain that is home to various gourmet desserts, has opened a location at Tanger Outlets.

The company has been around since 1977 and has numerous locations across the country, but Glendale is its first in Arizona. Manager Nick Ahamed feels the store is going to hit the ground running, and for him, that has to do with Great American Cookies’ variety.

“We get a variety of people here,” Ahamed said. “Everywhere from locals to snowbirds, to sports fans that come to State Farm stadium. I think we have enough choices here to accommodate every different case.”

Ahamed has been with Great American Cookies for a matter of weeks but has been working in that location for seven years as it was previously a Nestle Toll House Café.

After Great American Cookies bought Nestle out, he stayed on to manager through the transition. He is happy with the change.

“Nestle’s selection of cookies is very limited,” he said. “Great American Cookies has more than double the different varieties of cookies.”

Ahamed said his store offers roughly 20 different fresh-baked cookie selections to its customers daily. On top of that, Great American Cookies boasts cookie cakes, brownies, Double Doozies, ice cream, fruit smoothies and coffees, among others.

The menu doesn’t stop at dessert items, however, as crepes, paninis and wraps are available as savory options to customers. The variety is something that has really fired up the community.

“I was passionate when we found out we were switching over (from Nestle), but the response from the customers has been amazing,” Ahamed said. “People recognize this product, and we only keep hearing good things.”

Despite having only been open for a short time, Ahamed said customers have come in from out of state and stopped in as Great American Cookies is such a recognizable brand.

“We get so many people from the East Coast here,” he said. “They all recognize this as being a daily brand for them.”

Turnover is an oftentimes natural component with any buyout situation, but Ahamed said his entire staff opted to stay on. The transition allowed him to hire three more people as well.

“Our staff is excited about the transition,” Ahamed said. “All the new flavors really got our staff excited. I didn’t realize bringing something like red velvet or birthday cake as a flavor would excite employees, but it actually has.”

With the immediate success creating a clear opportunity for Great American Cookies and for Ahamed, the idea of expansion is a real possibility.

“I think that’s what we’re hoping for,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a big plus where the name gets more recognized. All that could do is help us.”

Great American Cookies

6800 N. 95th Avenue, Unit 760, Glendale