ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — Riesbeck's Food Markets' in-store bakery went all out this year for Super Saturday, a special sale day the company schedules annually for the day before the Super Bowl.
Just about every bakery item anyone could think of — cupcakes, cakes, cookies, bread, even a French flip coffee cake and paczki — were decked out in black and gold in honor of the Pittsburgh Steelers and green and yellow in honor of the opposing Green Bay Packers.
“We're just an hour away from Pittsburgh, and we have some avid Steelers fans. When the Steelers go to Super Bowl it's good for business,” John Chickery, bakery director at 10-unit Riesbeck's, told SN. “We have a good 35% to 40% better bakery sales day on a Super Saturday when the Steelers are in the big game than when they're not.”
As they did last year, the bakery decided Super Saturday was a good time to launch its annual sale of paczki — the rich, filled doughnut-like pastries traditionally sold just before Lent. Riesbeck's usually gets paczki season going early.
“We actually started doing that because years ago when we just sold paczki only on Fat Tuesday — the day before Lent begins — we got overwhelmed. We were making paczki all night and day, and not paying enough attention to other things.”
An earlier start turned out to be a good strategy. Customers would buy them right up to Lent. Next, Chickery started selling them during Lent, but only on weekends. Now, the goal is for his team to beat its sales record each year. Last year, Riesbeck's sold $318,250.76 worth of paczki by Easter weekend, beating a projection of $284,981.91. This year, Chickery's projection is $325,000.