WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Heinen's here has joined Cakes Across America, which is attempting to do for the bakery industry what FTD has done for the floral industry.
Cakes Across America, a program launched a little over a year ago by Ormond Beach, Fla.-based Evergreene Enterprises, makes it possible for a person to send a cake to someone in another city, just as one can order flowers via a local florist to be delivered in another city.
Its membership in the cake service gives the 11-unit, upscale Heinen's the exclusive rights to the territory where its stores are located. For example, if a person anywhere in the United States called Cakes Across America's toll-free number and ordered a cake for someone who lives in an area in which Heinen's has a store, the order would be relayed to the closest Heinen's.
"Florists have been successful with it, so why not bakeries?" asked Norma Wade, Heinen's director of consumer affairs, who initiated her company's relationship with Cakes Across America.
Here's the way it works: A participating bakery pays a yearly fee of $25 per zip code to belong to the cake service. Delivery areas are based on U.S. Postal Service zip code areas. The participants also receive $2 for every order placed from their zip code to another location.
Heinen's "owns" 23 zip codes, and has filled "just a few orders" since it joined in December. There has been more activity, however, in outgoing orders from the Warrensville Heights area. Thirty some orders from there have been processed by Cakes Across America for delivery in other U.S. cities. That adds up to no profit yet, Wade said. "This is a slow process but it's an investment that'll work if all members do their share of promoting it. It could greatly increase business for the baking industry." In the meantime, the retailer views belonging to Cakes Across America as another service it can offer customers.
The orders going out from her area have resulted from the exposure she has given the program in Heinen's marketing areas, she said. Brochures are available in all 10 bakeries, and the service is mentioned in the retailer's ads. "I also distribute brochures and talk about the Cakes Across America program at expos and other community affairs," she said.
Cakes Across America provides brochures and other printed materials to members, but does no national advertising itself.
"We depend on bakeries themselves to include our 800 number and a line about our service in their own ads," said Fran Greene, owner and chief executive officer of Evergreene Enterprises. "So far, Heinen's is the only supermarket member I know of," said Greene, explaining that the membership roster does not indicate if a bakery is an in-store bakery.
"Only if I'd recognize the name of the chain, would I know," she said. She added, however, that two large, multiregional chains have recently showed interest in membership.