Setting the stage at Manderfield’s
“I tend to look at the store as a stage,” says Doug Manderfield, one of three brothers running Manderfield’s Home Bakery’s three locations in Appleton and Menasha, Wis. “From the entryway to the lighting to the colors, it’s like we’re putting on a show. When customers walk through the doors, we want them to be enticed.”
Playing up the “home” aspect of Manderfield’s Home Bakery, the three locations feature entryways that have peaked roofs, much like a house, and the interior colors of orange, red, copper and black accents help continue the welcoming atmosphere. “We wanted it to feel like a home, and to me, the earth tones are very warm,” Manderfield adds. “And I think black is extremely dramatic. Most bakery products are colorful, so when you set them behind the black shelves, they really pop.”
In designing the bakeries’ interiors, Manderfield also focused on lighting. The electrician understood what was needed in a bakery and worked with the Manderfields to add spotlights to highlight the cases and track lighting to add subtle light where needed.
With three locations, Manderfield knew it was important to keep most elements as consistent as possible. The brothers spent several days analyzing the showcases and deciding the best location for each product. The colorful, eye-catching and child-friendly products, such as cookies, go on stage right (or the left side of the store). Manderfield knew this was the best location because our eyes are drawn from left to right, the same as when we read. “We wanted the colorful, more profitable products to be the first things customers see,” Manderfield says.
Then, positioned next are the breakfast items, such as donuts and coffee cakes, followed by the bread display and then the refrigerated cases full of dessert cakes and custom decorated cakes. Manderfield designed a planogram of what each case should contain and the order the products should be displayed, and each of the three locations adheres to that as closely as possible.
With a growing emphasis on packaged grab-and-go items, labels become vitally important. The labels include the usual product name and ingredient list but also list all of the bakeries’ addresses. “It’s something that helps make people come back when they have that label in front of them at home,” Manderfield adds. In the showcases, all of the products also have matching labels that give the product name and price.
Manderfield also turned his attention to packaging.
The bakery had used the traditional white boxes for years, but he wanted something a little more homespun and in keeping with earthy tones of the store. The quick fix: put the boxes together inside out, so the brown interior became the exterior. Manderfield has since sourced brown boxes that are printed with the bakery’s logo in burgundy.
The bakery also now uses brown bags. “It’s a more rustic, old-fashioned look,” Manderfield says. “In this day and age, old fashioned appeals to people.”
While Manderfield views the bakery as a stage, the show isn’t complete without its cast of characters, or employees. “The sales people are part of the show,” he says. “It’s their attitude, respect and enthusiasm for the products that really entice people to come back. You can put all the colors you want in the store, but if you don’t have those valuable people behind the counter, it’s not going to sell. We’re lucky to have people who are passionate about the product. That’s what really merchandises our product.”
Sweetie-licious shares love through food
Bakeries don’t often bring customers to tears, but Linda Hundt’s Sweetie-licious Bakery Café in DeWitt, Mich., has brought memories (and tears) flooding back for more than one customer as they walk in and are taken back in time. Hundt’s connection with everything from the 40s and 50s is embodied in her bakery with the light green, pink and red décor along with a bright pink vinyl floor. Products are packaged in old-school pink bakery boxes.
“Retro is truly me, it’s just who I am,” Hundt says. “I was born in the wrong era. When I wear my retro dresses, that’s something I’ve done since high school.” Her staff doesn’t have uniforms per se, but they do wear June Cleaver-style pink aprons, which also are sold in the shop.
Hundt, like many girls of her generation, fell in love with her Easy Bake Oven. She discovered that people, especially her brother, liked her when she baked them brownies or other treats. Her desire to spread love and keep old traditions alive grew into a dream to own a pie shop.
She began collecting memorabilia and display items long before that dream ever became a reality. After 20 years of collecting, she finally opened her shop in 2005 after several years of selling products at a farmers’ market. In the retail space, pies are displayed in an old pie case and on antique pie stands. Other products are displayed on vintage trays.
She also spent the years before opening the bakery working on perfecting her mother and grandmother’s old recipes. “I grew up with my mom, grandma and aunt cooking for us, and I just felt the connection between baking and love,” she says.
Every Sweetie-licious pie has a story, which Hundt has written and places in the box with every pie. Each pie is based on a loved one, either their personal favorite or a variety that was inspired by them. Sweetie-licious doesn’t sell cherry pie, but it does make Aunt Ella’s cherry pie and Tom’s Cheery Cherry Cherry Berry pie. “The point of the stories is that it is my tradition, it was what I grew up on. I didn’t want [customers] to get a blueberry pie, I wanted them to get Grandma Rosella’s blueberry pie,” Hundt says. Some of the stories are fun or whimiscal and some have a deeper sentiment. But each provides a character and a connection to the pie.
With the antique accents, rolling pins hanging from the tin ceiling, apron-clad sales staff, Hundt has produced a little blast from the past in a modern bakery. “You don’t want people to come and say ‘Oh.’ You want to wow them,” she says. “I wanted it to be a bright, happy old-fashioned pie shop reminiscent of an old candy shop or ice cream shop of the 40s or 50s. So that right when you pulled up, you wanted to go in.”