by Matt Reynolds, assistant editor
ABE will offer demonstrations on the exhibit floor and during seminars.
In an era in which baked products are appearing in seemingly every convenience store, coffee chain and discount superstore, bakery retailers are finding the need to distance themselves from super-convenient, low-quality glut.
Such is the focus of the upcoming American Bakery Expo (ABE), taking place Oct. 21-23 in Atlantic City, N.J. Retail Bakers of America (RBA) is joining New York State Association of Manufacturing Retail Bakers and New Jersey Bakers Board of Trade to host the event.
Show Manager Howard Casper says consolidating several association events into one reduces competition among trade shows and allows exhibitors and attendees alike to convene on a single place at a single time. Representatives from more than 300 companies will be on hand to offer solutions to retail bakers' challenges, making ABE the largest retail bakery expo since the three originally joined forces in 2002.
"This year, we are trying to show our members that in order to survive in the business, we need to raise the bar," says Paul Sapienza, owner of Sapienza Bake Shop in Elmont, N.Y. He believes that quality and creativity are needed to distinguish the retail baker as the elite of the baking world.
Cutting edge ideas
Competitions will exemplify the heightened standard of baking excellence. The 2006 National Bread and Pastry Team Championship brings together 12 teams composed of the finest bakers and pastry chefs in the nation, and entries in the crowd-pleasing Extreme Wedding Cake Competition will certainly present some exciting new ideas for your wedding cake business.
Meanwhile, RBA's annual Creative Decorating Competition will test some of the nation's best decorators. All of the creations will take shape right before the audience's watchful eyes. Decorators aim to push the envelope with their designs and spark new, creative ideas for attendees'. But, ABE plans to be more than a museum for display pieces.
Raising the bar
"Years ago, all you had to do was be a good baker, now you need much more than that," Sapienza says. "The event will incorporate merchandising, pricing, costing, and all sorts of business aspects that modern bakery retailers need to be acquainted with."
The renowned bakery business training representatives at Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor, Mich. will be on hand to pass on customer service, bookkeeping and accounting tips. RBA's Do It Yourself Public Relations will teach the art of growing a customer base independent of advertising.
"We are trying to get the members to realize that small shops certainly can survive, they just need to look ahead, distinguish themselves and offer something unique that the big shops can't offer," says Ramon Zayas, New York baker and association member. "There is no better place to see what's happening in the future of the industry."
The forward-looking Frozen Foods Pavilion, for instance, will examine the potential of gelato to be the next big thing in the industry, Sapienza adds.
|Expo General Schedule|
|Sat., Oct. 21¯Expo Hall: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. |
Registration: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
|Sun., Oct. 22¯Expo Hall: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. |
Registration: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
|Mon., Oct. 23¯Expo Hall: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. |
Registration: 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
For a detailed session schedule and a complete listing of American Bakery Expo exhibitors, visit bakery-net.com