CARMEL, Ind. -- O'Malia Food Markets here expanded a bakery promotion tied in with the Indianapolis 500 car race this year in an attempt to keep its customers from shopping at a new competitor's stores.
The novelty promotion, which had its debut last spring, featured selected bakery items in a custom-made black-and-white checked paperboard box with a window and an extra pouch containing a souvenir race car, said Ron Williams, director of bakery operations.
Due to the May opening of two new supermarkets operated by Meijer's, Grand Rapids, Mich., O'Malia, an 8-store independent, created a special display of bakery items with the Indy 500-theme packaging at the front end and a massive display in the bakery department, Williams said.
The special front-end display of Indy 500 bakery items was on a 3-foot by 12-foot table set in the center of the front aisle that customers pass through as they enter the store, he said. The table is designated for bakery specials, but had not been used last year for Indy 500 items, he said.
Advertising for the three-week-long Indy 500 promotion, which led up to the May 29 race, also was increased this year.
During the same period last year, O'Malia focused on cakes, cookies and muffins in traditional packaging in its weekly ad. This year, the bakery section of the regular weekly ad was devoted to the Indy 500 items and focused on the special box and souvenir race car, said Williams.
Some of the different bakery items offered in the promotional packaging included: "flaky bites," a pastry made from turnover dough with fruit filling, similar to strudel sticks, with two 18-count packages for $5; a 6-inch by 8-inch Indy 500 gourmet cake at two for $5; a 20-count box of cookies at two for $5; 2.5-ounce muffins packaged eight to a box at two boxes for $5, and two 16-ounce boxes of glazed doughnut holes for $5.
"By the time we get finished with this promotion, we will have sold 30,000 units of everything combined," he said. "That is about what was sold last year."
In light of the new competition, he said, "to stay even with last year will be fantastic."
To date, O'Malia's bakery hasn't felt the impact of the new competitor's stores, which operate scratch bakeries, said Williams.
"We are holding our own. One of the stores is less than a mile from us," he said.
The new competition also led O'Malia to feature its bakery hamburger and hot dog buns at a hot price for the Memorial Day weekend this year. An 8-count package of presliced buns was priced at 69 cents, down from the everyday price of $1.39.
Anticipating increased bun sales due to the price reduction, O'Malia Bakery, the central bakery operation of O'Malia Food Markets, produced about 5,000 packages instead of 2,000, Williams said.
The custom-made box for the Indianapolis 500 bakery promotion measured 6 inches by 8 inches by 2.5 inches high. In addition to black-and-white checks, the box bears illustrations of Indianapolis and race cars. The box was specially made for O'Malia by Indiana Carton Co.
The cars, manufactured by Stencil-Aire of Michigan, were laser-cut from natural wood in the distinctive shapes of race cars from each decade dating back to the 1940s. Five different versions were available.