Brothers bring back city classic -- Maurice Lenell
BY CHERYL V. JACKSON email@example.com Dec 6, 2010
Jeff Bach (center) and brother, Russell, greet customer Denise Herrera at The Cookie Store and More Sunday. The store features Maurice Lenell cookies.
From the crumbling of the famed Maurice Lenell Cooky Co. comes a new Chicago store to peddle the sweets.
A pair of Chicago brothers have opened a spot to sell the cookies, the first retail store dedicated to the brand since the company's 2008 shuttering of operations in Norridge.
Since Russell and Jeff Bach opened The Cookie Store and More, 3829 N. Harlem, on Nov. 28, they have heard stories of childhood trips to the old cookie factory.
The store carries the full line of nine flavors of Maurice Lenell cookies, along with sweets from other manufacturers.
While a couple of varieties are available at area Dominick's and Jewel stores, many people are unaware that the cookies are still being sold, said Russell Bach, 43, a Maurice Lenell distributor.
"I see the demand and how much it affects the people in the Chicago area as far as the history behind it; the customer loyalty," he said. "People in Chicago don't even realize that Maurice Lenell is still available."
The Bachs' store is five blocks south from the original factory and outlet store. The cookies are made by Ohio-based Consolidated baking Co., using the same recipes.
"We're trying to bring back the good old days," said Jeff Bach, 45, a restaurateur. "It's almost like customers are going to the Fountain of Youth or something."
The pair can count on Don Slovin, 84, to buy the cookies.
As a Prudential Insurance Co. salesman -- the company's top agent in two years of his four-decade career -- Slovin gave holiday gifts of boxes of cookies to 400-500 customers each year.
He has continued the practice, even after retiring in 1980s.
He also gives the cookies as gifts to nurses who care for his disabled wife; a local gas station employee, and others. And boxes are set out during the appreciation luncheon he and his wife chair for their Galena homeowners association.
"Everybody knows me as the cookie man," Slovin said. "I used to say the greatest sales tool I have is giving Maurice Lenell cookies away to my customers."