CINCINNATI — Kroger  here has joined suppliers BakeMark and Dawn Foods as the first retailer co-sponsor of the National Donut Day celebration on Friday, June 3. The annual event was organized by the Greater Cincinnati Retail Bakers Association, in conjunction with the Salvation Army.
Last year, inaugural sponsor BakeMark helped organize what was the first such event here. It marked the 125th anniversary of the Salvation Army and showcased the history of the charitable organization. Retailers and others said they were encouraged by last year's event — the media attention, the crowds, the money it raised for the Salvation Army, and the boost it gave to doughnut sales. In a pre-event interview with Megan Moran, bakery category manager for Kroger, SN learned that last year's local Donut Day gave Kroger stores in the Cincinnati area a 15% to 20% lift in doughnut sales.
“This year, with all the additional attention the event got, we projected a 30% lift, and I think the momentum will carry through most of the month of June,” Moran said.
Kroger and some other retailers in the area will use sets of commemorative boxes — which bear the Salvation Army logo and include a short history of the charitable organization — throughout June, and will donate a percentage of proceeds from doughnut sales to the Salvation Army.
Moran, who is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Bakers Association, said she hopes the company can ultimately expand its participation in the event.
“It's just Cincinnati this year, but we'd like to expand it to all the KMAs [Kroger Marketing Areas] to L.A., Portland, Seattle,” Moran said. “What I'd like to do is make this an annual, national Kroger-Salvation Army event.”
Kroger presented a check for $2,000 to the Salvation Army at Friday's event in Fountain Square. Dawn and BakeMark also presented checks to the organization.
Other retailers participated this year by using the commemorative Salvation Army doughnut box, designed by Dennis Smith, president of Paper Products Co. Among the supermarket retailers to use the box are Remke-biggs Markets, based in Erlanger, Ky., and Riesbeck's Markets in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Other well-known retail bakers, some of whom supply supermarkets in the area, also participated.
They all will donate a percentage of proceeds to the Salvation Army.
“Kroger had 200 3-by-2 signs printed up announcing the upcoming event and gave them to local retail bakeries,” Michael Vanfleet, president of the Greater Cincinnati Bakers Association, told SN. “You'd think that was their competition, but this is a real teamwork thing. When it's a charitable event everybody comes together.”
Riesbeck's Markets made a unique deal with the Salvation Army producing doughnuts for Salvation Army staff to pre-sell in the commemorative boxes. John Chickery, the chain's bakery director, also said that during Fridays in June, the Salvation Army doughnuts will be promoted for a dollar off at all Riesbeck's stores, with a portion of the proceeds continuing to go to the Salvation Army.
“It's a win-win-win situation. [Riesbeck's], the Salvation Army and our customers all benefit,” Chickery said.
While marking Donut Day here is relatively new, Donut Day itself is not new. In fact, the Salvation Army first recognized the doughnut with its own day in 1938. The non-profit organization, having served doughnuts and coffee to American troops overseas as early as World War I, gets much of the credit for making doughnuts an American favorite.