"They're very popular," Gordon says. "And it doesn't matter where we put them, because our customers will find them."

He's eaten Bergers all his life, and is a fan of the cookie's versatility.

"My wife, Darlene, takes most of the chocolate off," he says."I'll scoop the chocolate out of the box."

Indeed, Berger Cookies figure prominently in the couple's more lighthearted dreams of building a tidy nest egg.

"I thought of retiring and taking the cookies up to Penn Station in New York," Gordon jokes. "We could sell them there for $10 a box."

Normally, it takes Berger's Philadelphia-area supplier about eight weeks to schedule a delivery of the boxes. But once DeBaufre explained his plight, the supplier put in an order for a rush job and got the boxes to Baltimore in two weeks.

Deliveries of the cookies to area groceries began on Monday, and DeFaubre estimated that by the end of Friday every store should have received a new stock.

Maybe then, frantic customers will finally stop calling the Berger Cookie plant.

"I would just sit in the office and listen to the phone ring off the hook," DeFaubre says.

"People would call and say, 'Where can I buy your cookies?' and I would have to say, 'You can't.' "

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com