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Location: Nemenz IGA
Owner: Judy Gabriele
On Fat Tuesday, we hosted a paczki event, filling the traditional Polish pastry on the sales floor. These pastries are very similar to a filled doughnut, but much richer and sweeter and are a Fat Tuesday staple. We stuffed them to order, allowing customers to choose their fillings from our selection of seven flavors, and buy them individually or in mix-and-match four packs.
In the past, we had made paczkis for the season but this year our wonderful bakers had the idea to create the pastries on the sales floor so shoppers could see them being made. The event was a hit, with the local morning news coming out for a live broadcast. They aired four spots between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m., showing our bakers' process from frying to filling. The news team back at the station also talked a little about the paczkis throughout the morning as they were waiting for their tastes.
So many people who saw us on TV came in that day, that we made and sold much more than we had thought we would. Compared to Fat Tuesday last year, our bakery sales were up by $2,000. We anticipate that next year will be even bigger since now the word is out and it was very well received.
Fresh product delivered to shoppers. We guaranteed the customers a fresh product that they could customize by choosing the filling and the quantity. They knew the paczkis were fresh, as they could see them being made in front of them.
Offered exclusive Fat Tuesday paczki treats and options. We normally sell paczkis in one-flavor four packs, so the option to mix and match flavors in a four pack or buy them individually was a unique offering exclusive to the event. We also allowed shoppers to buy in larger quantities and we boxed them together, and we packed some in one-flavor four packs for quick service for anyone in a hurry.
Shoppers tried something new. If they didn't already know, our customers learned exactly what a paczki is and saw how it was prepared.
Created community excitement. The community was excited to have special one-on-one contact with our store and bakery in a unique way.
Promoted our bakery. The event promoted the freshness of our bakery and the scratch product through our sales flyer, Facebook posts and ads, and the local news coverage.
Gained new customers. New customers originally came in out of curiosity for the event and then asked where they could find other items. We hope they become returning customers.
For two weeks prior to the event, we advertised it in our weekly sales flyer and posted flyers around the store. We advertised on Facebook, which generated a lot of interest through our store's page and several employees' pages. We also contacted the local television station.
We set everything up in the produce department, as it provided a direct visual from the front door. We planned the layout in advance, made table covers, printed pictures, and ordered extra supplies and product in anticipation of the event. We set up tables in a U shape with the opening toward the bakery for ease in getting to extra supplies and stored the fillings under the tables.
In the lull between customers, we prefilled up to six paczkis with each flavor, which made serving customers as they came in go a little faster, particularly with larger orders.