In 2012 Gal Danay and some friends opened a kiosk to sell macaroons at a winter holiday market in New York City.
Danay and his colleagues were blown away by the success of their two-month-long side hustle. And so, apparently, are their customers: That enterprise has since grown to become the largest purveyor of French macaroons (the company spells it macaron) in the U.S. “We couldn’t keep product on the shelves,” said Danay, recalling the unexpected success of that first pop-up shop in New York’s Bryant Park. “We sat around afterward and said, ‘Woops! — we have a business.’”
A few months after closing the pop-up, Danay and his partners opened their very first mall kiosk, at Westfield Garden State Plaza, in Paramus, N.J. Today their fast-growing company — aptly named Woops! — of which Danay is chief operating officer, has about 50 units nationwide, the majority of them mall-based kiosks owned and operated by franchisees. The company also has franchisee-owned-and-operated in-line bakeshops selling macaroons and artisanal pastries, along with sandwiches, coffee and tea.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
These macaroons are handmade at the company’s 10,000-square-foot bakery in the Bronx, N.Y., and then shipped across the country. The airy, colorful confections, which Danay calls “an affordable indulgence,” sell for about $2.50 apiece and come in about 20 flavors — such as Nutella and Red Velvet, to name only two. In visual terms, when displayed together they create “a rainbow effect” that catches the eye of passing shoppers, Danay says.
Uniquely among mall-based specialty tenants, the concept happens to have its own custom-designed kiosk. This unit boasts some highly practical features — such as built-in refrigeration and a self-contained sink — and the simplicity of its sleek, white design is intended to “let the product do the talking,” in Danay’s words.
These kiosks also carry Belgian waffles, Argentinean alfajor cookies and similar international pastries that are either made at the company’s bakery or else imported.
At FlatIron Crossing, in Broomfield, Colo.
Danay attributes the venture’s success in part to the macaroon’s novelty status in many U.S. markets. “Our brand is about bringing international pastries to local markets,” he said. “[The macaroon] has been around for 100 years in Europe,” he said, but in many smaller U.S. markets, it is still “new and exciting.”
Some of the company’s best-performing locations are on the outskirts of major cities. Management anticipates the openings of about a dozen kiosks by the end of this year and is looking to double or even triple in size, as measured by total unit count, over the next three to five years.
Franchise inquiries may be directed to woopsfranchise.com or (718) 576-6722.
By Anna Robaton
Contributor, Shopping Centers Today