Fast-growing cookie chain poised to open Dubuque location

Crumbl Cookies

Address: 3500 Dodge St., No. 202

Phone: 563-231-2198

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and closed Sunday.


Michael Hilton said it happens dozens of times per day. People will jiggle the front door, then ask if the Hilton family’s business is open yet.

“I’ve been here at 1 a.m., getting things ready, and when I go to lock the door, people will drive into the parking lot and ask when we will be open,” he said.

The door jiggling can end at 8 a.m. Friday, March 25, when Aricka and Michael Hilton open Dubuque’s first Crumbl Cookies location in Warren Plaza, 3500 Dodge St., No. 202.

Crumbl is one of the nation’s fastest-growing bakery chains. After opening the first store in 2017 in Logan, Utah, the firm has expanded to more than 400 stores in 36 states. The Dubuque location will be Crumbl’s third shop in Iowa, joining ones in Ankeny and Cedar Rapids.

Crumbl features a rotating menu of cookies and ice cream.

“Chocolate chip and classic pink sugar (cookies) are always there,” Michael Hilton said. “The pink sugar sometimes rotates out for a different variation of sugar cookie, and then the other four flavors rotate every week. The ice cream rotates every quarter.”

The Dubuque store eventually will provide delivery of cookies to customers. The Hiltons plan to employ up to 70 people, including some full-time bakers.

“We know it’s going to be awesome,” Michael Hilton said. “We know people will get a cookie that will blow them away.”

Steve Sutherland, a Utah-based trainer from Crumbl, is spending two weeks in Dubuque, helping the Hiltons open their store and training the staff. He has helped open 25 Crumbl stores in the past year.

“Everything is fresh. We do everything from scratch,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland said Crumbl is driven by technology. Each store has iPads that provide meticulous baking directions, so the cookies are uniform throughout the country. Staff members use a smartphone app to stay abreast of real-time data concerning the store. The firm also maintains a robust social-media presence.

“Even people who have never had Crumbl, they’ve heard about it because it’s on their news feeds,” Sutherland said. “So, there’s a lot of curiosity.”

Michael and Aricka Hilton are both 29 and moved to Dubuque from Utah, although the couple are familiar with Iowa. Two of Aricka’s brothers live in Iowa City.

Aricka’s background is in marketing, and Michael was a consultant for a software company in Utah.

“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Michael said. “I was looking for a business to start, and this seemed like a good one. There’s a line out the door every time (a Crumbl location) opens, so we knew they must be doing something right.”

The couple began the process of opening the Dubuque store about 14 months ago.

“Once you are selected for your territory (for your franchise), you start building your store,” Michael said. “We picked out this location in May of last year and we started building. If it wasn’t for supply-chain delays, we probably could have opened in September or October.”

It was not long into the construction process that curious Dubuque-area residents started asking about the store’s opening.

“When you first come into a community, you wonder, will they be excited about the cookies? Will they accept the cookies?” Michael said. “I’m not too worried about that, with 30 people a day jiggling the door.”