LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Quillin's here has sweet memories of Super Bowl week, which sent its bakery sales soaring.
Here in Green Bay Packer land, customers were buying everything that was green and gold (the Packers' colors), officials at Quillin's said. So the nine-unit retailer made sure it had plenty of bakery items sporting the team colors.
As customers intercepted green and gold cakes, cookies, cupcakes and sandwich buns, bakery sales at one unit zoomed 56% over the same week a year ago.
"Most of those sales were in just two and a half to three days, from Friday through midday Super Bowl Sunday," said Tony Doering, bakery-deli manager at one of Quillin's stores situated on the south edge of town here.
"Sales were normal at best from Monday through Thursday, but they began to heat up Friday morning. Kids were picking up trays of cookies and cupcakes to take to school," he added.
All Quillin's stores -- even one that's located in Iowa -- had double-digit increases in bakery sales, officials said.
The stores' managers and associates "went all out to decorate in Packer colors," the officials at the corporate office said.
Green and gold blinking Christmas lights on black-background boards were everywhere inside the store and banners said things like "Go, Pack, Go." Associates wore Packer hats and sweatshirts.
"You'd be amazed at what all that does to morale," said Doering. "People didn't mind working extra hours. It was a lot of fun." He added that he's a Minnesota Vikings fan, but was not very vocal about that fact during Super Bowl week.
Doering said his store probably chalked up the biggest sales boost because his is the only unit that has its own cake decorator. She was right there in full view of customers, applying the green and gold to cake tops, he said.
In that one unit, the bakery sold 82 quarter-sheet cakes at $12.99 each, 145 eight-by-eight picnic cakes at $5.99 each and 35 special order cakes retailing for $12.99 and up, just from Friday through Super Bowl Sunday, Doering said.
The cakes were decorated with green and gold icing with an outline image of a football helmet on them. Cookies shaped like football helmets and iced with green and gold scored, too. So did green and gold sandwich buns. The 5- to 6-inch cookies were 69 cents each; the buns, $1.19 a dozen.
The cakes were displayed in three places: in the service case, on a table in the bakery and on a 12-foot, double-deck table just inside the store's entrance. The aggressive merchandising and the festive mood must have helped, but still sales exceeded any goals that anyone had set at Quillin's, Doering said.
"To tell you the truth, I was surprised that we had such a big increase here in bakery. If we'd had an increase of 20% to 30% like we did in the deli, it wouldn't have been so amazing."
The special spike in sales came on top of more steady volume sales growth. Doering said the store's bakery sales had been rising since it was remodeled two years ago. As part of the remodeling, the bakery was moved to the front of the 60,000-square-foot unit.
"Before that, it had sort of blended in with the deli. Now, it's obvious that it's a separate department. It's in the left, front corner of the store, right inside the entrance," he said.