CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - We all might have a craving for a cookie every now and then. Now, a North Iowa cookie store is meeting customers needs any time of day, whether at 3 p.m. or 3 a.m., thanks to unique 'cookie ATM'.
Mary Jo Banwart's family has been serving up delicious treats at Cookies, Etc. for about 35 years, using time tested recipes passed down from Mary Jo's mother. Each summer, it's usually a packed house inside, but the pandemic has changed up business a bit, as customers are being served outside. Also outside was a standard cash ATM, but Mary Jo says that customers just weren't using it like they used to.
"As people are using debit and credit more, we found that people weren't using the ATM as much and required an update."
So after a month of work (while also keeping it a secret and allowing customers to guess what the big secret was on social media), Cookies, Etc. is unveiling a 'cookie ATM' in its place.
"The pandemic was the positive thing in that it gave us the push to provide an opportunity for people to come in and have a contactless way to get cookies without coming in contact with staff."
Inside the ATM, you'll find their well renowned cookies, as well as ice cream sandwiches and treats, and drinks. All you have to do is swipe your credit or debit card, type the item you want in the key pad, and your treat will be dispensed.
The machine came from an Iowa-based vending company.
"They've never used one for this application. The engineers worked out a few tweaks, and everything should work fine."
Banwart says staff will be sanitizing the keypad throughout the day. Customers are encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after use.