BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- The national president of Cookies by Design says the company has revoked the franchise agreement with its Bethesda location and ordered it permanently closed after WUSA9 reported on a mice infestation inside the store's kitchen.
WUSA9 aired the story about the rodent infestation at Cookies by Design, 4913 Cordell, March 28th.
Two days later, a note went up on the store's door stating after 17 years in business, the Bethesda location was closing its doors.
"We were appalled that an owner could allow this to happen," said Cookie by Design national president Jack Long. "Not satisfied with the owner's explanation, we have terminated the franchise agreement and instructed the owner to shutter the shop."
In addition to our visit finding mice feces, see the attached video to watch a pre-Valentine's Day promotional appearance on WUSA9 by the now former Cookies by Design franchise owner.
Owner Kim Tucci spoke about brisk sales during the holiday of cookie arrangements that can exceed $100 a piece.
"For Valentines, our busiest day of the year, it's going to be about 200 orders," Tucci said in the on-air presentation - six weeks prior to when our cameras found mice feces in the center of her kitchen, near cookie trays, and along the wall by the refrigerators.
In March, inspectors reported seeing a live mouse at Cookie by Design and cookie trays soiled with mouse feces.
"I've done everything that's been requested," Tucci told our cameras days before she would lose her franchise. "We're still doing cleaning. I'm doing the best I can."
Today the cookie case sits empty at the Bethesda Cookies by Design and no one answers the phone.
We tried to reach Tucci for comment. We didn't get a response.
National Cookies by Design says for now, orders from this area will be filled by their Baltimore bakery.