Johnstown bakery owns rights to Gobs
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You can find commercial versions of both whoopie pies (not to be confused with those Southern sweeties, moon pies) and gobs. But Gobs is a trademarked name owned by the Dutch Maid Bakery in Johnstown.
Owner Tim Yost bought the name, the formula and the manufacturing process, from the yellow filling down to the sailor-decorated wrapping ("gob" also is slang for sailor), in 1980 from the nearby Harris-Boyer Bakery as it went out of business.
About five years ago, Mr. Yost closed Dutch Maid's retail store and scaled back his distribution and product line, but he still makes gobs of Gobs. "They're huge here," he said last week, after finishing another run of them.
Dutch Maid Gobs are available at Sheetz stores and other outlets, but Mr. Yost believes the closest to Pittsburgh they are distributed is Blairsville. His wife, Becky, will send you a dozen by mail, for the retail price of 89 cents each plus postage. (They've been doing this for a couple of years via phone, having customers send checks on the honor system, and no one has not sent a check yet).
The Gobs go all over the country and beyond -- "We send a lot to Iraq," he says -- to Western Pennsylvania ex-pats, many of whom grew up with these.
Mr. Yost did, too. He's 63 now but remembers getting off the school bus and walking to his dad's bakery. What he never told his dad was that most days he'd stop and buy two Harris-Boyer Gobs at the Village Dairy store -- 10 cents apiece -- and eat both before he got across the four-lane to his dad's place.
He knows that people make and sell "gobs" at churches and the like, and he hasn't sued any of them because, "When the ladies aren't making them, they're our customers."
But he would protect his trademark if another commercial entity so trespassed.
"The thing is, nobody can make them like we make them anyway," he says, describing his Gobs as not quite cake and not quite cookie and "an explosion of flavor" that's not just the chocolate you get from a regular whoopie pie. There's a "twist" to it, but good luck getting what it is out of him. "We always let it up to people's imagination to figure out what's in it."
To mail order a dozen, call 1-814-269-3931 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Published July 8, 2010 12:00 am