At Thanksgiving this year, the staff of Apple Annie’s Bake Shop will have an extra something to be grateful for.
That’s when construction to expand the bakery’s Kerr Avenue location should be nearing completion, giving the company a bigger, more streamlined base from which to operate its growing e-commerce business, said owner Rob Cooley.
The store at 837 S. Kerr Ave. is expanding into an adjacent space.
“We’re at mid-construction, and we’ll start the upfit soon,” Cooley said Monday, adding that Pine Valley Construction is doing the work. “This will be a very interesting, dynamic space for Apple Annie’s. It doubles both our manufacturing space and our capabilities. The additional workspace means we’ll be able to ship our products anywhere domestically.”
When customers order Apple Annie’s bakery goods for shipment, the items will be flash-frozen and, just before the end of the day, placed in a specially designed container with a freezer pack. They’ll leave the premises via UPS or FedEx on the last pickup of the day and will reach their destination within 24 hours, according to Cooley.
Apple Annie’s expansion is largely a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
“COVID taught us that we had to pivot, to take our online store nationwide,” Cooley said.
The company spent months experimenting with various products to see which would freeze and travel best and then develop a container to protect them. It became obvious that more space was needed for this new aspect of the business, which Cooley expects will represent 25-33% of the bakery’s growth.
When the project is complete, the retail counter will span the entire width of the expanded store, giving Apple Annie’s more retail space as well as enhanced production and shipping space. That will be a boon during busy holiday times, Cooley said.
The ability to ship products to a much wider market will bring a welcome boost in revenue that will help compensate for a negative effect of the pandemic that can’t be addressed by adding physical space.
“We have struggled to get raw materials,” Cooley said. “In some cases, the price of commodities can fluctuate 20-25% within a two-week period. We can’t pass those fluctuations on to our customers, and shelf life [of our products] is a big issue.”
Apple Annie’s also operates a retail location at 1121-I in The Forum.