General Mills announced that Nantucket Bake Shop was selected as the grand prize winner in the company’s 2009 Merchandising Makeover: Pillsbury Bakery Edition contest, presented in collaboration with the Retail Bakers of America (RBA). As a winner, bakery owners Magee and Jay Detmer received $5,000 to remodel their family-owned bakery, the oldest and most-recognized bakery on the island.

The bakery will host a grand reopening celebration at its location at 79 Orange Street on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entire community is invited to stop by to sample products and get their picture taken with the world-famous Pillsbury Doughboy.

The Detmers have owned Nantucket Bake Shop for nearly 35 years and have seen many changes to the surrounding neighborhood within that time. The bakery is the last remaining business in the now residential neighborhood and holds dear its old-fashioned baking traditions, using the same formulas inherited from the previous business owners, including the bakery’s trademarked island specialty – Portuguese bread.

Over the years, the Detmers have made the necessary investments to update the bakery’s back of house operation, but have had little time or funds available to seriously renovate their nearly 500 square feet of retail space, which is why the bakery entered the Makeover contest.

A team from General Mills and the RBA worked with the Detmers to evaluate the bakery space and develop a blueprint that would make the biggest impact with their awarded budget. It was important to the entire team to uphold the historical aspect of the bakery’s location and help the bakery remain true to its heritage and traditions.

The team looked at how inexpensive changes like a fresh coat of paint in a different color, organizing the newspapers on racks and rearranging storage areas would give the bakery an updated look while still maintaining the character of the this Nantucket Island bakery. They moved forward with a final plan that would give the bakery a fresh look and significantly enhance their customers’ shopping experience.

According to bakery owner Magee Detmer, who oversees the front of the shop as well as the baking, General Mills and RBA representatives were valuable in helping the bakery develop and execute the plans for the makeover. “We never expected to win,” said Detmer. “The team that came out to help us with the makeover really infused new energy into our bakery. They did a great job of understanding our unique challenges and went above and beyond to improve the retail experience for our customers.”

RBA education director Lynn Schurman commented that the Nantucket Bake Shop was an ideal candidate for a makeover. “Our team from General Mills and the RBA was able to look at the bakery’s operation from the customer’s point of view. There was a lot of opportunity to make significant changes that would not only change the shopping experience, but also the way the bakery operated.”

Nantucket Bake Shop used the prize money to update flooring, paint walls, build new shelving, install new benches and counters, and purchase a new compact refrigerated case to display the bakery’s many cakes, pastries, and more. The new case allowed the bakery to really open up the space. The old case was so large that it hid one of the bakery’s most popular items – donuts – from the customers view. Replacing the case not only allowed the donuts to be merchandised in a more prominent place, it opened up square footage in the bakery to create a much more user-friendly shopping environment.

Furthermore, the extra space allowed room for a new self-service coffee station and a side by side beverage cooler. Before the makeover, employees had to pour each cup of coffee and added the cream and sugar for each customer. They stored juice and water in the cooler in back and walked back to get one every time a customer needed one.

The bakery leveraged its relationships with its beverage suppliers to make these upgrades without spending extra dollars. The bakery’s coffee vendor provided the bakery with all of the equipment to install a self-service coffee station. Additionally, their beverage vendor provided the bakery with a new side by side cooler for bottled beverages and grab and go items. The new equipment saves employees time and has dramatically enhanced the customer experience according to Detmer.

Merchandising Tips from Pillsbury Bakery Institute
According to Schurman, bakeries don’t need to win a contest to make a big difference in their retail space. Simple changes can have a dramatic impact.

“It’s increasingly important for retail bakeries to stay competitive in today’s marketplace,” she said. “Retail bakeries may be surprised to learn they can easily update their retail space with a minimal investment to create an impactful change that customers will notice.”

Here are five merchandising tips from The Pillsbury Bakery Institute that retail bakeries can implement on a modest budget.

Make your products jump off the shelf. Clearly mark products in display cases with professional-looking signage.

Think of your bakery as an edible gift shop. Keep grab-and-go items by the counter for convenience, impulse purchases and easy gift ideas.

Keep bakery cases looking full. Rotate fresh products to the front of the case throughout the day.

Remind customers of your signature items. Communicate this through brochures, flyers, samples and promotions.

Keep your store-front clean and inviting. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in creating that welcoming environment.
The General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice division sells a wide array of high-quality products into the retail bakery channel, such as bakery flour, dry baking mixes and frozen products including cinnamon rolls, muffins, puff pastry, scones and other sweet goods. It also markets dry baking mixes and bakery flour in the foodservice, restaurant and wholesale bakery channels. In addition, the division sells General Mills branded cereal, yogurt, snacks and more in a wide variety of foodservice outlets, such as cafeterias, convenience stores and vending machines. The division generates more than $2 billion in annual sales.

The Retail Bakers of America (RBA) is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit trade association located in McLean, Va. whose membership consists of retail bakeries, industry suppliers, educators, students, culinary colleges and other industry partners, and is committed to the success of the retail baking industry. Celebrating its 90th anniversary year, RBA works as the business partner and resource provider for bakers across the country, and is the nation's premier source for industry information. More information is available at