Just two years after Mother's Cookies closed the doors of its plant on 81st Avenue in Oakland, its pink and white frosted Circus Animal Cookies will now fly off the shelves.
And there is no sign that they'll come back.
The plug was officially pulled when Mother's Cake & Cookie Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday. Besides the Circus Animal Cookies, the company is known for its Taffy Sandwich Cookies, English Tea Sandwich Cookies, and Iced Oatmeal Raisin cookies that will no longer be made.
"I think it's ridiculous," said Stephani Russell, a Danville resident. "I'm seriously shocked because these are cookies I grew up on."
Most of the employees that had worked for the company were laid off two years ago, when its operations shifted to Ohio and Canada in 2006. But several dozen Northern California truck drivers, who delivered the cookies to grocers, lost their jobs abruptly.
Normally the U.S. Department of Labor requires 60-day notice to employees required by the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act. But if the company can show the layoffs were because of "unforseeable business circumstances," this requirement can be ignored.
In a court filing, the company said "significant increases in raw material costs and the record high fuel costs" contributed to the demise. Archway Cookies also filed for bankruptcy. The company's bankruptcy filing listed liabilities of more than $500 million and assets above $50 million. The two are owned by private-equity firm Catterton Partners. Jeff Granger, of Focus Management Group was appointed as chief restructuring officer.
Mother's cookies was a fixture in Oakland, when it made its headquarters at 810 81st Avenue in 1949. It was started by N.M. Wheatley, who ran it as a one-man operation on 12th Avenue in Oakland in 1914. It later moved to East 18th Street before its final Oakland headquarters.
"I'm sick, and I'm driving out to the grocery store right now to go stock up on the Mother's cookies," Russell said. "That's how crazy I think this is."
Staff writer David Morrill can be reached at 925-977-8534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.