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Bakery reveals record Easter hot-cross sales

By Fay Simmons

Tribune Business Reporter

jsimmons@tribunemedia.net

A Bahamian bakery yesterday revealed it enjoyed its best Easter to-date by selling just under 600 dozen homemade hot cross buns.

Mark Grant, owner of Heavenly Creations by Chef Mark, said customer turnout was bigger than anticipated and his business sold out of the first 200 dozen just 30 minutes after opening last Thursday.

“It was the best year for us so far based on the turnout. We were able to do about slightly under 600 dozen. Unfortunately, some persons had to walk away disappointed who are waiting in line once we sold out,” he said.

“It was pretty much way more. We were expecting a big crowd, but the way that it went… it was overboard based on what we started with. We started with 200 dozen and in half an hour it was gone, and persons waiting in line for an hour-and-a-half, two hours. Some people made it clear they were not moving until that bread came out of the oven, but it was worth the wait.”

Chef Mark explained that bakeries have had to increase their prices due to the rising cost of supplies. He added that ingredients such as spices, dried fruit and baking pans have increased significantly so many bakers raised their prices by a few dollars to offset the costs.

He said: “So as the costs increase, we increase because of the costs at the vendors. We had bakers that went from $12 to $15 because just the pans alone, they are like $2 for the pans and the covers. Plus, raisins get expensive, the spices you use depending on what you put on it.

“For us we went all the way with it by adding features such as stuffing it and adding different flavours, so we were able to charge between $25 and $30 a dozen. So, the pricing wasn’t really a distraction for us because we adjusted for any prices that would have went up slightly from what we charged last year.”

Chef Mark said he plans to invest in industrial equipment so that he can continue to build on this year’s success, and is looking forward to baking more treats next Easter. “I’m looking forward to doing it again next year, and hopefully we can invest in getting industrial equipment that’ll make it a bit easier, especially the rolling as it’s a tedious component,” he added.

Tasia Ferguson, owner of Sweet Jennie’s Bakehouse, said that although she chose to limit her orders this year she saw stronger sales than in 2023 and sold out.

She said: “Compared to last year, it was a bit more but I had limited my orders because I was just coming off of an illness. So I didn’t want to take too much orders.”

Ms Ferguson said she has been in business since 2021, and has conducted an annual cost analysis which shows the steady increase in ingredients prices over the years. The cost of staples such as flour has increased from $30 a bale in 2021 to $50 in 2023 and now $55 in 2023.

She said: “I had done an analysis of when I first started baking hot cross buns in 2021, and now this is my fourth year. In 2021, I paid $30 for a bale of flour which is ten five-pound bags, and I paid $50 last year and $55 this year.

“Things are steadily increasing by up to 25 percent. The eggs were $113 a case. Last year I had purchased organic eggs from a local farmer but they didn’t have sufficient to supply me this year. Butter in 2021 was $72 per case, now it’s a little over $100. Sugar has remained stable since it increased in 2022, but flour, eggs, butter they are big costs for bakeries.”

Ms Ferguson said the cost of pans and lids increased significantly this year, with 100 plastic lids increasing from about $85 to $132.

She said: “The foil pans, they were basically the same price as last year - $86 for a case of 100 count. In prior years they were $75 a case and the lids for them were about $10 more. This year the lids were $132 for the case and the pans were $87. Some places went up to $232 for 100-count pans and lids.”

Due to the cost increases, Ms Ferguson charged $18-$20 per dozen this year but loyal customers were understanding of the overall increase in food costs and still chose to buy their preferred treats. “The loyal people know your product and know that’s what they want, they pay for it,” she added.

Comments

TalRussell 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Loyalty that:binds your comrade:---- Even before I had been born a World War 11 baby my parents had been loyal customers at The Louis’ Model Bakery on Dowdeswell street. ---- I lived on Dowdeswell Street, and roamed down Bay Street as far as the British Colonial Hotel. --- Good Day!.

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