How Linda’s brought January back from the dead

Linda’s anniversary sales draw big crowds to the bakery.

Most bakery businesses have a slow season. For Linda’s Bakery, West Salem, Wis., the month of January was a drag. Post-holiday blues, inclement weather and resolve to save rather than spend in the new year can keep customers away from the bakery. This is not the case anymore at Linda’s. Owner Marc Anderson gets business booming during the typically slow month with a promotion other bakery operators might consider tailoring for their own businesses.

“We needed a worthwhile reason to get customers out to the bakery and also a basis to keep them returning,” Anderson said. Linda’s Bakery created an anniversary promotion of specific products that sell for the price in cents of the years the bakery has been in business. This year, being its 43rd year, the anniversary products sold for 43 cents.

Linda’s ran the promotion for two weeks this year, featuring a different anniversary sale product, like variety breads, buns and cupcakes on a different day of the week. With the purchase of at least $2, customers can purchase the anniversary sale item.

“We started it with our 25th anniversary with a lot of promotion. Now we don’t have to do as much promotion because people expect it and look forward to it,” Anderson said. This year the bakery passed out 5,000 flyers beginning in November and leading up to the event.

The promotion not only draws customers to the bakery for a deal, it encourages them to try products they may not typically seek out. One year, the bakery offered pie tarts as its anniversary sale promotion. Before the promotion the tarts hadn’t sold very well, but now the bakery counts on selling 60 pans a week because people tried them during the promotion. “If we can get them in the door, they rarely ever only walk out with the minimum purchase and the sale item,” he said.

Business was booming in January for Linda’s Bakery again. But, as with any promotion, Anderson says to keep track of the costs and make adjustments to the length of sale, the products on promotion and minimum purchase requirements to ensure profitability.

“It hurts a little to give stuff away, but sales jump 50 to 60% during our anniversary sale weeks,” Anderson said. “In the end, it’s worth it.”

Sweet rolls and Danish are some of Linda’s signature products.