COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There’s a cookie battle brewing over Central Ohio favorite Cheryl's Cookies.
The Westerville-based company is suing its former owner and founder Cheryl Krueger over her new cookie venture C Krueger. The lawsuit could take its sweet time in playing out in federal court.
“I am not sure why they are coming after us. Competition is a good thing. Our country is built on competition,” said Krueger at her Blacklick-area bakery facility. In 2005, Krueger sold her business for $40 million. Krueger said she had a non-compete, but it expired five years ago.
Krueger opened a C Kruegers in the Short North this fall, complete with milk bar. Krueger said she hasn’t done anything wrong and her lawyer will file a counter-claim in federal court next week.
“It’s like having two children. You care for them both. And they are both very different in different ways. So when I heard they were going to sue us I said, really, I was very surprised."
Krueger says there differences between her new cookies and the ones for which Cheryl's Cookies is well known. “We thought we would take a little bit different twist this time instead of doing the same thing we did before. Probably the newest ingredient is cane sugar versus beet sugar. Also we are using Belgian chocolate,” said Krueger.
“There’s different flavors. Different sizes. And so, a cookie is a cookie. Just varying degrees. An Oreo is a cookie too, but a little different than our cookies,” Krueger said. “There is plenty of room and plenty of market in the U.S. for both of us to be successful. That is my true hope."
Cheryl’s would not talk on camera about the lawsuit or their product but sent this statement:
“Cheryl’s Cookies unique, buttercream frosted cookies and baked goods are beloved by customers nationwide. We are very proud of the growth and innovation we've brought to this brand. It is our responsibility to protect our business, including our dedicated associates throughout Ohio and across the country. Beyond that, it is the policy of the Company not to comment on pending litigation.”
Krueger said her goal is to expand her brand to other sweets, like donuts and scones. She wants to include other local entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses.
Lawyers said it may take a year-and-a-half to two years to iron out the case in court.