National Bakery Day is returning for its second year, and looks to be bigger and better than last year's debut.
“Millennials want to support local businesses, so we definitely want to use social media to promote National Bakery Day,” says Bernadette Shanahan-Haas, director of operations for the Retail Bakers of America. “Do something special for National Bakery Day. Connect with us, and we’ll repost it.”
Retail bakeries, says John Lupo, the RBA’s new president, “play such an important part of the fabric of their community.” Lupo first opened Grandma’s Bakery in 1978 in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where he has managed a bakery business that since has grown to two retail locations with a thriving wholesale operation and more than 100 employees.
This year, the 100th anniversary of the RBA, Grandma’s Bakery and thousands more will join forces to promote the entrepreneurial spirit and importance to their communities of local bakeries — #KeepYourDoughLocal — for National Bakery Day.
The RBA is celebrating its centennial throughout the year with new and improved roadshows, new certification designations, a huge celebration later in the year, and National Bakery Day.
“In 2018 the RBA is celebrating 100 years of serving the baking industry. It’s more than fitting that the inventor of National Bakery Day become our organization’s next president. To have such a big-picture thinker lead us into the next 100 years is very fitting,” says Shanahan-Haas.
RBA president John Lupo encourages local bakeries to get involved this year.
Lupo is instrumental in the development of the first-ever National Bakery Day, which took place at independent retail bakeries throughout the country last September. The idea was inspired by the enormous success of Record Store Day.
“In the coming years our society will be affected by disruptive changes,” Lupo says. “As an organization we need to continually reinvent ourselves to remain relevant and to deliver value to our members. I’m excited about the future and the challenges it presents.”
The RBA invites bakeries across the country to celebrate the delicious success of your independent bakery with a sweet new “holiday” that you can easily bring to life through live events, fresh treats and the signature tastes that make your local bakery a vital part of your community.
By joining RBA in a Retail Level 1, 2 or 3 membership category, your bakery will receive a free marketing kit for National Bakery Day. The kit will be sent to your bakery and will include National Bakery Day marketing materials for you to use, as well as a how-to guide.
Lupo, previously vice president of the RBA, succeeds Beth Fahey of Creative Cakes in Tinley Park, Illinois, as president of the RBA for a two-year term. The Retail Bakers of America was founded in 1918. It is a not-for-profit trade association committed to the success of the retail baking industry. RBA works to connect buyers and sellers; provide a forum for the exchange of ideas among industry professionals; create opportunities to network, learn, and mentor; develop training and small business programs; and create industry standards through professional certification, industry research, and school programs.
Tune into the magic
Retail bakeries across the country took advantage of promotional kits to promote National Bakery Day.
The RBA, the organization tasked with spreading the word about the momentous occasion, received requests for scores of free marketing kits from bakeries. These kits included a box label, window decals, posters, table tents, and counter stands. The professionally designed artwork features fun slogans such as “Keep Your Dough Local” and “Feed Your Knead for Local.”
Bakeries use these promotional materials in creative ways, but the creativity doesn’t stop there. Stories poured in from all over the US of interesting ways that the bakery holiday was being recognized. For starters, several local and state governments officially recognized National Bakery Day. Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois, Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota, and many more government officials signed proclamations recognizing Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 as National Bakery Day.
Bakeries both big and small got in on the action. 2016 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Baker Joanne Chang and her Flour Bakery + Café locations throughout Massachusetts celebrated the event with special demonstrations which showed guests how to make some of the bakery’s famous menu items.
In Chicago, one of America’s oldest bakeries, Roeser’s Bakery, founded in 1911, gave away a free funfetti donut with every purchase. It also held special raffles for items such as coffee cake and cookies. Finally, the bakery sold a custom cookie with 100% of the proceeds going to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Roeser's Bakery in Chicago raised money for hurricane relief efforts as part of its National Bakery Day event.
For every purchase made on National Bakery Day, Jarosch Bakery in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, donated $1 to the Elk Grove Food Pantry, which has been serving Elk Grove since 1988. Cash donations help the pantry purchase fresh produce, meat, and paper goods for local residents in need.
Darla Julin, a certified decorator and owner of Fantasies in Frosting, in Fargo, North Dakota, said her cake shop gave away purple measuring cups with every $10 purchase.
“People need to remember that retail bakeries, if you don’t support them, they’re not going to be around,” Julin says.
Other notable bakeries joined the campaign with special discounts. Founded in 1924, Helen Bernhard Bakery in Portland, Oregon, celebrated National Bakery Day with specials of 93 cent donuts and cakes for $19.24. Helen Bernhard Bakery was established in 1924, beginning, as many bakeries did in those early days, by baking cakes for neighbors and friends.
Share your story
Shanahan-Haas reminds bakeries that contests on social media are a great tool to increase the numbers of followers of your bakeries.
“Eighty-one percent of millennials check Twitter at least once a day, and Snapchat reaches 41% of 18 to 34-year-olds,” she says of the importance of addressing younger shoppers.
Strike a balance with your social media posts, she recommends. Twice a day on Facebook, one to five Tweets a day on Twitter and a consistent presence on Instagram are just a few of the best practices that social media experts say are best to follow.
“How many of you wear eight hats in the bakery?” Shanahan-Haas says. “What we don’t want to do is waste time.”
Ken Jarosch of Jarosch Bakery in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, employs his niece, Jamie, to keep the website current, create signage, promote weekly and monthly specials, and post regularly on social media.
Just make sure you are recognized. Shanahan-Haas shares a notable quote from Neil Patel of Forbes.com: “If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds.”
Social media platforms allow businesses to reach customers in a uniquely personal way.
For example, 2tarts Bakery in New Braunfels, Texas, does a fantastic job, boasting 13,600 followers on Instagram and 8,206 followers on Facebook.
When sisters April Weilbacher and Ashley Landerman opened 2tarts Bakery in 2010, they already had been working as a team since before they could remember.
Both their husbands, Eric Weilbacher and Pete Landerman, work hard to make sure day to day operations run smoothly, while their mother, Mom Tart, is a local celebrity and community representative.
Jim Murphy, owner of Sweetish Hill Bakery in Austin, Texas, says they hire professional writers to craft the stories of their bakery, aiming to deliver compelling copy that grabs the attention of potential customers. “Sometimes really well done copy makes a big difference,” he says.
Bill Hanisch of Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop in Red Wing, Minnesota, hosts Facebook Live videos on his bakery’s page in which he portrays “The Bun Man” and guides viewers through the bakery to see what’s special going on this particular day. One recent video featured “bringing donut thunder” to a local school.
Flavor Right also uses Facebook to turn the spotlight on local bakeries through its creative Mix Master Mondays series. Videos show different ways to use products and helps engage bakery shoppers throughout the year.
Beth Fahey, co-owner of Creative Cakes in Tinley Park, Illinois, points out that Facebook Live videos are “awesome” because “people really want to see the owners of the bakery.
“Show customers how you make your cakes. Tell them what you do for the community. Share anything that shows how your bakery works, and customers will love it. It’s so important to promote for local independent bakeries to promote National Bakery Day.”