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September 08, 2023

A Florida cookie company is making Philly the home of its first franchise stores

Blueprint Cookies plans to open in Rittenhouse in November under a pair of Bucks County-natives whose friendship dates to elementary school. More shops in the city are expected to follow

Food & Drink cookies
Blueprint Cookies Philadelphia @johnnyciarlante21/INSTAGRAM

Blueprint Cookies is bringing its desserts to Philadelphia. A franchised store is expected to open in Rittenhouse in November. It will be run by by Christian Williams and Johnny Ciarlante, above.

Blueprint Cookies, a Florida-based business known for its chocolate chip cookies, is coming to Philadelphia.

The business plans to open its first franchise in Rittenhouse on Nov. 1. Two additional stores will be opened later in Fishtown and University City. 

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Blueprint Cookies offers cookies made daily in its stores in small batches. Chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with sprinkles are menu mainstays. But the stores also offer a rotating specialty flavors, including, banana creme pie, white macadamia nut, trail mix, teacher's apple pie and German chocolate cake.

The move to Philly is being spearheaded by Christian Williams and Johnny Ciarlante, who grew up in Southampton, Bucks County. They forged a friendship in elementary school that has evolved into a business partnership. 

The expansion of Blueprint Cookies was spurned by Williams and Ciarlante bumping into the company's co-founder, Adam August, during a trip to Florida, where Williams attended college. 

"My sister knows Adam, who's the CEO, and Johnny and I went on a quick visit to Florida and ended up just running into him, introducing ourselves," Williams said. "And he was kind of telling us about the business, how they're growing in South Florida, and how he wants to keep growing into other states. That led to another conversation where John and I said we're interested in learning more and want to become the first franchisees outside Florida. And then, within three to four months, we just made it happen."

Williams said Pennsylvania was an ideal state to launch the company's expansion because of his connections to Florida, where Blueprint Cookies has stores in Fort Lauderdale, Plantation and Boca Raton. Williams played collegiate soccer at Florida Atlantic University before transferring to Lafayette College to complete his education. 

The first Philadelphia location will be on the 2200 block of South Street. 

"Philadelphia kinda lacks a good local core gourmet cookie," Williams said. "Insomnia Cookies is huge in the city, but that just kind of is a different structure, it's a different model. And I think it attracts somewhat of a different audience. We're very similar to what Crumbl does; we have weekly rotating cookies, two monthly rotating cookies, and two standard cookies. So we try to keep everyone coming back like week to week."

Blueprint Cookies also intends to expand to other states soon, Williams said. He and Ciarlante may assist with that expansion. 

In Philadelphia, Williams and Ciarlante have brought in Joe Lees, who owns Wellcraft Construction, to oversee construction licensing and permitting. Lees, who grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and attended Penn State University, is a friend of their parents. 

"He was kind of the first person to pop into our head, so long story short, he was in Florida, and we sent him cookies to get him to try before we even asked him to be our third partner," Ciarlante said. "Eventually, we had a conversation with him, and he was in from the start."

Blueprint Cookies is headquartered in Plantation, Florida. It was founded in 2019 by August and Nick Hicks, who had no experience baking cookies and no recipes to follow. The duo hired Chef Max Santiago, who brought experience – and cookies – to the business.

Williams and Ciarlante say they have been attached at the hip since childhood, playing the same sports – and positions – and pursuing similar majors in college. They both played soccer collegiately – Williams at Florida Atlantic and Lafayette College, and Ciarlante at La Salle University. 

"We believe franchising Blueprint Cookies is the first step to a very long and successful business journey between us two," Ciarlante said.