I had the opportunity to interview one of the owners of Cookies Kids, Sonny Falack, at their flagship store in downtown Brooklyn. I have never shopped Cookies Kids before (let’s face it, I hardly make it above 14th street in New York City, let alone Brooklyn), but it was nice to learn that the store was an easy 20 minutes via the subway from our downtown New York City apartment.
Cookies Kids is a 5 minute walk from the Dekalb Avenue Stop on the “R” train in Brooklyn.
When you go into the main flagship store in Fulton Mall, you’ll notice that it is very, very, very big and maze-like and packed with kids clothes, toys and accessories. You may get overwhelmed because there is a lot to look at, but as you look around a bit more, you’ll notice one consistent thing: the prices at Cookies Kids are amazing, so much so that you’ll forget that you may have information overload because you’re constantly looking for the next deal (and Cookies Kids has a lot of them).
Below is the transcript of my interview with Sonny, my questions are in bold:
For parents who don’t know Cookies Kids, what would you want them to know about your store? Cookies Kids is an emporium of merchandise that mother’s can shop from when the babies are born until the child is are 13-14 years old. Within each department, we have a very wide selection across different categories; and across each category we have a lot of different brand names that people will recognize. And as time goes on we get more and more brand names. When people spend $100, they walk out with a sizeable bag of merchandise. Especially for single parents and those who are more budget conscious they can come here and shop with confidence that they are going to get the right price.
Cookies Kids is the largest children’s department store, potentially in the country. We run about 80,000 feet – which is the largest in terms of square footage that is dedicated to kids department store. We are one-stop shopping for kids fashion from shoes to toys to all the kids fashion clothing to layettes, school uniforms. Anything you need for a kid you need its one stop shopping at Cookies.
Lots of neon signs point you to the right direction – there’s MANY places you can go here.
How do you sell your items at such a great value? We call up brands or the brands even call us up and we take a big lot of merchandise and we’ll pass the value on to the customer so that they can feel like they are getting something.
Baby Phat Girlz jackets.
Levi’s Jeans for back-to-school.
Will you open up a Cookies Kids in Manhattan? As time goes on and if the situation presents itself to us the right way, then yes, we can potentially open up over there. Right now we are focusing on our website, CookiesKids.com, and our infrastructure such as installing a new computer system.
Cookies Kids is a family business. How is it working with family? I never did anything else. I’ve been doing this since I was 10 years old. So,we started in 1972 and they used to bring me to the store on the weekends, I used to work and unload the cartons off the truck. As time went on, I kept working on the weekends, I went to college for a while and when I came out, I went straight to the business and this is all I’ve ever done.
I have two brothers who I am partners with and we grew up together in the business and we get along nicely and we try to help each other as much as we can.
What are you focusing on now? Right now we are focusing on our Back-to-School season and we are trying to deliver all the back-to-school kids apparel and accessories that they will be looking for. Whether you wear a uniform or not, Cookies Kids is the place to go to for kids fashion.
They’ve got brand names like Nautica, Nike, Adidas and Puma for boys.
Rows and rows of backpacks for boys and girls.
I didn’t have either daughter with me so, unfortunately, I couldn’t buy anything for the back-t0-school season — they are both very picky, so it would be a disaster if I bought anything without them picking it out, but I will certainly be back with them to get some much-needed backpacks, jeans, sweaters, tops, cardigans and shoes!
In 1972, a young man named Cookie and his brother Marvin went into business together. They rented a 1600 square foot store in Jamaica, Queens, fixed it up, bought inventory and Summer and Fall, and opened a day after Thanksgiving with a full stock of holiday toys. The toys were a success and they put the extra money toward buying children’s clothing for the next season. When that did well, they bought more clothing. The business was on its way.
As the brothers Cookie, Marvin and Sonny, who had come in as a third partner in the business, began to open new stores in new locations, inventory expanded. Besides the latest fashions, our customers wanted shoes, toys, backpacks and accessories and we were prepared to deliver.
By the late 1990′s there were six superstores throughout the NYC area, and though they previously had different names, by that time they were all named Cookie’s Kids. Also in the late ’90s came an important addition to Cookie’s Kids’ inventory: school uniforms. It was the steady success in uniform sales that paved the way for founding CookiesKids.com in 2007, which originally sold uniforms and soon after the entire Cookie’s Kids Inventory.
To see more pictures, check out my #CookiesKids Google+ story.