ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — Riesbeck’s Food Markets is ahead of itself in paczki sales so far this year. While many retailers sell the super-rich pastries just prior to Lent, Riesbeck’s in-store bakeries begin turning them out five weeks ahead. This year, paczki sales for that five-week period have soared $10,000 above last year’s five-week, pre-Lent period, the 16-unit independent’s bakery director, John Chickery, told SN.
Right before Lent, Riesbeck’s promotes paczki with events such as remote radio broadcasts its stores, and its annual Paczki Ball. Last Saturday, its 14th annual Paczki Ball again drew crowds to its flagship store here. Customers polka-ed to the music of a live band and sampled doughnut-like paczki all afternoon.
“We had one of our biggest crowds,” Chickery said. “One couple drove here from Columbus, two hours away.”
For the third year, customers chose a Paczki King and Queen via votes cast for their favorite associates. For the third year in a row, Diana Michelli, meat department associate, was honored as Queen and Austin Holmes, front-end customer service associate, was honored as King. Guests of honor included supermarket veteran and consultant to the bakery industry, Carl Richardson and his wife, Cindy, Dennis and Mary Smith from Paper Products, Cincinnati, and Mary Ann Acree, secretary of the Greater Cincinnati Bakers Association.