Local edible cookie dough shop expands to the Greenwood Mall

Eleanor Tolbert

Raw, an edible cookie dough store in downtown Bowling Green, expanded to a new location on Oct. 1: a kiosk in the Greenwood Mall.

Chloe Hohlbein and Bailey Dahlquist, both seniors at WKU, opened Raw in February 2018. Dahlquist is from the Chicago area, where he grew up with a similar store. They wanted to bring that to Bowling Green.

“We both lived here for three-plus years,” Hohlbein said. “We really like Bowling Green, so we decided to open up downtown.”

From the start, Hohlbein and Dahlquist knew they would want to eventually expand. After about a year at the original location, they knew they were ready.

“Expanding has always been something we’ve wanted to do,” Hohlbein said. “We just always thought it would be a storefront. The problem with that is that it is a lot of planning and a little bit more expensive.”

Hohlbein said at first, the idea was a little overwhelming. They would have to buy two of everything they already had, including both rent and supplies. They decided to think of smaller scale things they could do to expand their business. That’s when they noticed the kiosks in the mall and had the idea to open one of those.

“We reached out to them not knowing if it would be anything, because the kiosks in the mall are usually more commercial,” Hohlbein said. “When we contacted them, they were all about it.”

As of now, they have only signed a lease through January. They expect business to be good due to holiday shoppers.

“More than likely we’ll continue to be out there just because it’s worked really well,” Hohlbein said. “It’s a good location.”

Holbein and Dahlquist have had to hire new employees to work at the mall. They also transferred the manager to the new location.

Jacob Schneider, 22, is a WKU alumnus and the manager at the mall kiosk. He has been working at Raw since it opened and believes this expansion was a good move for the business.

“We have already improved sales, and it’s a great marketing tool,” Schneider said. “People come here and learn we have a store downtown with even more flavors.”

The more active atmosphere of the mall’s location is one of the many differences between the storefront and the mall. Both Schneider and Hohlbein said neither one is better, just different.

“Definitely right now, business is better in the mall because there’s so many more people out there,” Hohlbein said.

In the summer, she believes business will be better in the storefront because not as many people will be shopping at the mall. She said both have different strengths that will be good to balance each other out.

Schneider said there are some differences to how it has to be managed. Although it is similar in regards to employees, they must follow the rules of the mall, including store hours and holidays.

“In the store, we could close a whole week for Christmas,” Schneider said. “In the mall, we can only close on Christmas Day.”

There are also differences in the clientele. The storefront sees a lot of WKU students and families coming from activities downtown like restaurants and the Capitol Arts Center.  

“The store is definitely WKU through and through, with addition to a lot of families eating downtown,” Hohlbein said. “At the mall, it’s a very wide variety of different people.”

She said in the mall, they see visitors, mall employees and many other kinds of people of many different ages. Schneider added that the customers in the mall are more unsure about eating raw cookie dough, while the storefront customers are regular fans.

In the next couple of years, Hohlbein said she hopes to have more mall locations and to continue to keep growing the business. She said that entails going to other cities, including Cincinnati and Louisville, selling different types products and catering more events. She said she would like to expand to malls within the same management as Greenwood Mall.

Set to graduate in December, Hohlbein said she would ultimately like to put Raw on the map. 

“Graduating in December will allow me to focus on new products, and ideas that I have wanted to explore since I haven’t had as much time with school,” Hohlbein said in a text message.

Raw is located on 432 E Main Ave. and at Greenwood Mall, 2625 Scottsville Rd. The storefront is open on Sundays through Thursdays from 3-8 p.m., Fridays from 3-9 p.m., and Saturdays from 1-9 p.m. The mall is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 

 

Features reporter Eleanor Tolbert can be reached at 502-386-4608 and [email protected]