Made in USA: Too Good Gourmet cookies


If your sweet tooth is calling this holiday season, there's an East Bay business that can answer it. Too Good Gourmet is a Made In America business with a long reach.

Customer Glen Wong of Oakland wants to find holiday cookie deals right here at home.

"Two dollars! How about this house? The packaging alone is worth more than that," said Wong.

That only begins to explain the daily frenzy at Too Good Gourmet in San Lorenzo. It's a fantasyland of the bright, the cheerful, the tasty, and the obsessed.

"Yeah, [one woman] came Saturday, then she came Sunday, and then Monday," said cookie buyer Rich Murzil.

You can blame it all on the marketing instincts of Jennifer Finley -- the one with cookies on her desk and the boxes of cookies all around her office.

"Well, it began as trying to do one better than the Animal Cracker," said Finley.

It's a sweet tooth, sugar twist on your "Made In America" theme. Woman earns MBA, learns business with big corporate brands, then in 1998 starts a cookie company because she wanted something to market and sell.

"Well, just go for it. Just go do it. See if it works and be willing to fail and then change, and then try again and fail again and try again," said Finley.

The concept is tasty cookies combined with irresistible, home-grown, house-created packaging.

"I think people are impulsive and they see something they like, they want to buy it," said Finley.

Not that Finley and package designer Kerry Kingdon always see eye-to-eye. In fact, they never seem to agree. Nevertheless, their company turns out a quarter of a million cookies every single day.

"The world wants to buy U.S. food. Shipping to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, we actually have to increase the 'Made in USA' symbols," said Finley.

So for a world with a sweet tooth, here is its saving grace -- Too Good Gourmet of San Lorenzo. A little sugar, spice, flour... and a boss who works the way some people eat cookies -- she never stops and the cookies keep coming.

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