Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop?s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Each trip to Yogurt Zone is an exercise in deliberation. The bank of frozen-yogurt dispensers dares guests not to second-guess their choice, pouring an array of kosher low-fat and nonfat flavors as well as nondairy and no-sugar-added options, such as mango, pink lemonade, and watermelon sorbet. Each yogurt option teems with live, active cultures that are believed to deliver many health benefits, such as clearer skin and improved digestion of swallowed car keys. Even after visitors settle on flavor combinations, the toppings bar continues to test decision-making skills with both dry and fresh edible accoutrements, such as fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate, candies, and cereals.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
The Perfect Touch aims to magnify beauty and boost guests' confidence with a wide range of aesthetic treatments. Teeth-whitening sessions, for example, use an organic hydrogen peroxide gel and LED laser light to undo the effects of years of smoking, wine drinking, or gargling with soy sauce. Gleaming, long-lasting Shellac manicures pamper and beautify hands, and epsom-salt pedicures smooth calluses with a peppermint foot scrub and lavender or cucumber lotion. Paraffin-therapy treatments are available as an add-on to help soothe dry skin and promote better circulation in the fingers and toes.