QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -- In a new store here, Clemens Markets has added a full-service Manhattan Bagel unit that has been ringing up impressive sales since the day it opened.
"Sales at Clemens are the highest yet for a supermarket location, nearly double any other Manhattan Bagel store in a supermarket," said Rocco Fiorentino, director of business development at Manhattan Bagel Co., Eatontown, N.J.
On a busy Saturday, the Manhattan Bagel station in the Quakertown store bakes more than 3,000 bagels, said Craig Fondl, the franchisee who operates the Manhattan Bagel unit.
"Based on the mutual success we've had at this store, it's likely that we'll extend this relationship [with Manhattan Bagel] to other stores," said Tom Hughes, marketing director at the 26-unit supermarket chain based in Kulpsville, Pa.
Commenting further on the sales success here, Hughes said "the power of national brands is known," and added that it's an advantage that Manhattan Bagel is a particularly familiar brand in this market area. Manhattan Bagel has 60 freestanding units in Pennsylvania and does extensive local advertising.
Fiorentino attributes the company's astonishing success at the Clemens store here primarily to a trio of factors: location up-front in the store, adjacent seating and being situated in-line with the store's in-store bakery.
"Since this is a new, from-the-ground-up store, we got the perfect deal. Space was allocated in the store plans and there's cafe seating just across the aisle from our counter," he added. Seating accommodates 50 people.
He explained that the Manhattan Bagel counter is an integral part of the food court at this store, situated as it is so close to the bakery and cafe. He added that the home-meal replacement trend as well as the bagel trend have contributed to the company's success in supermarkets.
"Ideally, we like to strategically locate our unit like this one, but sometimes [in an existing store or in a remodel] it has to be fitted in where there's space for it," Fiorentino said.
"We need to be very visible to customers and located where they have easy access to us," he said. This is especially true in a supermarket location where most customers have not made Manhattan Bagel their destination, he explained.
Commenting on the unit being in-line with the in-store bakery, Hughes said, "It's good to have like commodities together. We'd do it just like this wherever space and the configuration of the store allowed it."
Occupying 450 square feet in the 55,000-square-foot Clemens store that opened in November, this Manhattan Bagel operation is one of the largest the company has inside a supermarket, Fiorentino said.
It is also one of the first Manhattan Bagel units to sport an updated Manhattan Bagel logo, which features red and blue instead of the previous logo's black and pink .
The Manhattan Bagel counter features open production and offers both service and self-service. Bagel sandwiches and bagels with flavored cream cheeses are offered along with coffee at the service counter, which is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The bulk of sales at the Clemens Manhattan Bagel unit are in baker's dozen packs that feature 13 bagels for $5.79, said Fondl. Individual bagels are 50 cents; with cream cheese, $1.37. The best sellers are plain, cinnamon raisin and spinach, Fondl said.
Currently, Manhattan Bagel Co. franchisees operate stores in units of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. in its Atlanta market area; in stores owned by Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif.; in Genuardi's Family Markets, Norristown, Pa.; and in a Super Foodtown unit in Manalapan, N.J.