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The squeeze on cheese: Bagel shops scramble to find cream cheese

Bad news for bagel lovers - bakeries are having a hard time getting their hands on cream cheese.

DALLAS, Pa. — Cory Norton's job has changed a bit in recent weeks.

"It used to be just working in the store. Now it's working in the store, driving, picking stuff up, delivering, anything that we can do to make sure we have the product for the customer."

He's the manager at Bagel Art Bakery in Dallas. But he could probably add another title to his resume, professional cream cheese gatherer.

"We started calling. We started with a 50-mile radius, 100-mile radius, 200-mile radius, and 300-mile radius, and any place that we thought might have cream cheese, we called. And once we found it, we were out there as fast as we possibly could."

Cream cheese itself isn't what's in short supply; it's the packaging for it.

Luckily, Norton and the owners saw it coming and had time to react.

"About a month and a half ago, we realized our suppliers were limiting how much cream cheese we were able to buy, so we kind of saw the writing on the wall," Norton said.

They bought enough from a different supplier to last them through the end of the year.

Good thing, because it's about to get busy at this bagel shop.

"On an average week, we go through about 500 pounds of cream cheese. During these next two weeks, we go through about 2,500 pounds," Norton said.

Alexis Lanza and Lexi Strobel are helping out at the bakery through the holidays while they're home from college. They returned to their old jobs, to the news from their bosses that it's tough to keep this fridge stocked.

"It's kind of crazy. We work in a bagel shop, we obviously sell cream cheese, and we make a lot of it, and it's really popular. So it's just very weird to hear that," said Lanza.

"Customers love the cream cheese here, and like Cory said before, we go through about 500 pounds a week, so without cream cheese, that's kind of hard," said Strobel.

Everyone at the bakery is now crossing their fingers that things look better in the new year when their stockpile of cream cheese runs out.

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