ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — Riesbeck’s Markets, cited each year for its promotion and huge sales of paczki, expects to beat its own record this year with sales hitting $250,000.
Unlike many retailers that promote paczki — the super-rich, traditionally pre-Lenten pastries — the 11-unit independent does not stop selling the doughnut-like treats on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. It continues to make them and sell them, on weekends only, through Easter.
Having sold 2,700 six- and eight-count boxes on Fat Tuesday alone this year, the company has developed new promotions, for the first time creating a red-and-white iced Valentine’s Day paczki, which sold 1,130 boxes during the holiday. Spurred on by its Valentine’s Day paczki sales, St. Patrick’s Day is next for the chain, and signs are already up in Riesbeck’s stores telling shoppers to look for green-and-white paczki that day.
Chickery believes that even, or maybe especially, in such a dark economy, people seek out comfort foods, and his sales show it. In-store bakery sales are up 5% year-to-date, and Riesbeck’s has already met 70% of sales projections for the paczki this season.
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