Blue Deer Cookies opens its doors on King Street

Ansley Puckett, Reporter

Set against Boone’s busy downtown street, a building with a familiar blue deer has finally brought its twinkling lights to King Street. A local business famous for its vintage camper on the side of Highway 321, Blue Deer Cookies’ 352 W. King St. location is now open for business.

Established in May 2018, Blue Deer serves the High Country homemade cookies, Homeland Creamery ice cream, customizable ice cream cookie sandwiches, and now coffee and baked goods from Hatchet Coffee and Stick Boy Bread Company.

Owner Austin Northern said the new location also offers customers more space. 

“We really want people to know that we are a full coffee shop, that we have a seating area, and we want (students) to come over here and do homework and hang out,” Northern said. “A lot of people don’t know that we have the bottom floor, but we also have a second floor entirely purposed for seating and lounging, and we also have a third-floor balcony.”

Customers can enjoy a coffee on Blue Deer on King’s third-floor balcony overlooking the Reich College of Education. (Courtesy of Blue Deer Cookies)

Because of the success of its Blowing Rock location, Northern said Blue Deer had no interest in “brick and mortar” before. 

“This deal kind of fell into our lap a little bit. It really wasn’t a location of strategic planning, but we started seeing the building and location, and what it could be, it was hard to pass up, to be honest,” Northern said. 

As a customer since the opening of the camper, Caroline Turner wrote in an email that Blue Deer’s new location will be convenient for students.

“Some of my favorite memories as a student at Appalachian include walking to King Street with friends to get coffee or food,” Turner wrote. “I think Blue Deer chose a great location where students on or off-campus will be able to go spend time with others.”

Northern said its summer opening allows Blue Deer to serve more than App State students.

“We just wanted a soft opening to get our bearings before the students came back, and it worked out well,” Northern said. “A lot of people don’t realize that Boone continues to operate when the students leave, we actually get a bunch of tourists, and we have more of an opportunity to serve a different group of people when the students aren’t here.”

Opening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic also created challenges for Blue Deer and its “party atmosphere” business model. However, Northern said Blue Deer looks forward to learning how to better serve its community during this “interesting time.”

“As far as a construction standpoint and kind of what we wanted to get in, yeah, that stuff got delayed because most furniture is manufactured overseas and it just took a longer time to get ready,” Northern said. “That kind of forced us to look for better, more local alternatives, which kind of worked out better.”

In the future, Northern hopes that Blue Deer on King will serve its downtown community and spread positivity.

“If you can create a business model that is welcoming and inviting to everyone, that’s what I want to do,” Northern said. “It’s about building something that every person can draw something from, and that’s been the biggest thing to see people draw their own positivity from Blue Deer.”