A message on Berger’s website and outgoing voicemail says the company is temporarily closed because of an illness in the family.
The last shipment received at Eddie's Market of Charles Village, according to owner Jerry Gordon, was on Jan. 31, the Thursday before the Super Bowl.
“We've had a lot of disappointed people. They're visting [Johns] Hopkins and come here just to get Berger Cookies to take home with them,” said Gordon, who has been mollifying customers with little red bags of locally baked Otterbein's Cookies. “It's been a good bump for Otterbein's.”
When Rodgers Forge resident Karen Rodriguez heard about the Berger Cookie shortage, she knew she'd have to hold off on the Baltimore-centric care package she was assembling for a friend in Colorado.
“I was going to put in some crab potato chips and [Goetze's] Cow Tales, but it’s really pointless without the Berger Cookies,” she said. “I can't send her a care package until they start making them again.”
The shortage is also affecting other businesses.
“We can’t get anything from them,” said Rodney Henry, owner of Dangerously Delicious Pies, where bakers melt the cookies into the popular Baltimore Bomb pie. Henry said drivers have attempted to pick up cases of the cookies only to find no one at the bakery.
Berger operations were last interrupted in September 2011, when water from Hurricane Irene destroyed the bakery's stock of cardboard packaging. At the time, owner Charles DeBaufre, Jr. told the Sun that his staff normally produces 2,500 pounds of Berger Cookies a day at its Cherry Hill plant, and delivers them to about 600 stores around the region.
DeBaufre has been the sole owner of Berger Cookies since 1984, but the company traces its origins to mid-19th century when it was owned by the Berger family. The exact arrival of the signature Berger cookie is unknown.
No one from Berger could be reached for comment via email and phone calls, and no one answered at the bakery Thursday afternoon.
Nancy Cohen, co-owner of Eddie's of Roland Park said her last delivery of Berger Cookies was several weeks ago. “We make phone calls every single day and get a voice recording,” Cohen said, “and that's all I know.”
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