A book lands sales for The Flour Pot
| Margie Greenberg’s (left) decorating abilities and her daughter Abbey’s marketing skills have made a successful combination. |
“The book has a real wow factor for people who come into our retail store,” says Abbey, who has put her marketing background to work promoting the hand-cut and elaborately decorated sugar cookies Margie used to send to her at college. “And we’ve had quite a number of people call to order cookies they saw in the book for their parties.”
Margie’s fondant and royal icing covered cookies bedecked with ribbons and beads has attracted an international following of customers, led to an appearance on the Food Network, and inspired Nordstrom department store (famous for its haute shoe selection) to order about 900 of the mini shoe masterpieces for a luncheon. The appeal of the cookies also fueled a move from a tiny space in the back of a restaurant kitchen to a 1,100-sq.-ft. production facility, which includes a 300-sq.-ft. retail store.
Most of The Flour Pot’s sales come from gift boxes the company offers on its Web site. Prices range from $22 for seven cookies to $78 for a box of 30. Generally, the staff of seven turns out about 600 2- to 4-oz. cookies per day and double that amount during holidays.
Currently, Abbey is working on the Web site to allow customers the ability to request express shipping and the option to purchase The Flour Pot’s individually cello-bagged party favor cookies as well as gift boxes.
“We custom design the party favor cookies, but we have found that certain designs are requested over and over,” Abbey says. “We’re planning to include these designs in our on-line offerings.”
Recently, the decorating duo has begun “slowly and carefully” exploring wholesale opportunities, according to Abbey. “We’re placing individual cookies at cash counters at selected upscale food markets and gourmet-to-go stores,” she explains.
The Greenbergs also are expanding the product mix at their own retail store by introducing a line of traditional home-style drop cookies in flavors such as mint chocolate chip.
“These are the kinds of treats we would find in my mother’s cookie jar,” Abbey adds. “When we put them in the store, they sell like crazy.”
Around the Christmas and Easter holidays, the pair conducts hands-on cookie decorating workshops in the store for home bakers. Not surprisingly, the store also stocks baking supplies, including rolling pins and an entire wall of cookie cutters.
Dorothy Lane Market hosts pastry parties
| Dorothy Lane’s pastry show featured bite-size samples of its new spring products. |
Dorothy Lane, a three-unit food market based in Dayton, Ohio, held its second annual Springtime in Paris Pastry Show in May this year. The market charged $25 for the two-hour event, which encouraged guests to sample pastries and take part in live demonstrations presented by Dorothy Lane chefs. Guests also chose from twelve French wines and champagne to consume with their pastries.
The idea for the event came from an ambitious bakery manager who wanted to demonstrate Dorothy Lane’s in-store bakery difference. The company had developed other events to promote its food offerings, such as a holiday food and wine party. But, the bakery department wanted to promote the skill and quality of its bakery and pastry staff.
“I wanted to do something to show customers our pastries,” says Jennifer Dahm, Dorothy Lane’s bakery retail manager.
The company’s pastry chefs and bakers offered live demonstrations of some of the techniques they use at Dorothy Lane. Demonstrations included building a chocolate sculpture, plating desserts, building croquembouche and creating tuxedo strawberries.
Dorothy Lane promoted the event in stores with signage, on the front page of its Web site and on a radio show. Promoters also e-mailed invitations to customers who had attended the event last year.
Organized as a classic evening of pastry and wine pairings, the pastry show spotlighted about 20 different pastries. Some of the pastries offered from its spring line included its banana bombe, fraisier torte and tiramisu.
The banana bombe is a 2 1/2-in. dome-shaped dessert with walnut cake and banana mousse. The fraisier torte features fresh strawberries and buttercream between two layers of génoise cake, finished with almond paste and fresh strawberries. Tiramisu is an Italian favorite made with ladyfingers soaked in coffee syrup, layered with light mascarpone cream, dusted with cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream.
Under the guidance of Ghylsain Maurais, a classically trained pastry chef and chocolatier from Quebec, Dorothy Lane’s in-store bakeries offer a full line of upscale pastries and chocolates. Maurais was one of the featured presenters at the Springtime in Paris Pastry Show.
This year’s event drew about 95 paying customers, but the publicity and consumer education generated by the event are its primary benefits, says Scott Fox, Dorothy Lane bakery director.
“Customers come to events like this and learn what it takes to produce these types of products,” Fox adds. “It is hard to measure the value of how our customers feel about us.”