UPDATE: Initiative to Reopen Pratzel's Bakery Is a Success!
Note: Click here to read the initial installment of the saga of Pratzel's rebirth.
It worked! Public relations and marketing firm Falk Harrison announced on its blog this morning that Pratzel's Bakery has a new owner.
Jon Mills, a St. Louis documentary filmmaker -- you can see his work while waiting to catch a tram to the top of the Gateway Arch -- and his wife Elaine have purchased the landmark bakery.
Pratzel's former owner, Ronnie Pratzel, will stay on as a consultant for about a year while Mills learns the trade. Many former employees have also expressed an interest in returning to the company.
Mills' first order of business: building a retail counter at the wholesale bakery at 9263 Dielman Industrial Drive in Olivette. He's also going to make some improvements at the bakery and hopes to reopen on May 1.
Nearly a century old, the bakery was the only 100 percent kosher bakery in the area, and its closure at the end of January affected more than 200 wholesale buyers and the patrons of the bakery's retail location inside Kohn's Kosher Market on Olive Boulevard in Creve Coeur.
When Falk Harrison creative director Steve Hartman got wind of the closure, he came up with the idea of pledging to provide Pratzel's buyer with a year of free social-media services and photography.
That was only the beginning. "We thought, 'Why not try to draw further attention to the company?'" Chris Reimer, Falk Harrison's VP of social media, told Gut Check last month. The company published a blog post announcing its pledge and calling for other area businesses to step up as well.
"Within 24 hours we had $1,000 in printing services [from NJC Printing], ten free full-page magazine ads [from Avid magazine], $250 in office supplies [from Exec Business Products], free photography and post-production imaging services [from Goldman Photo] and hand-stitched retro aprons for the entire staff [from Stitch the Earth]," Reimer told Gut Check. "We did not ask for any of this!"
In the end 25 companies offered goods and services.
"I was following your efforts via your blog, and we were moved by the outpouring of support," buyer Jon Mills tells Falk Harrison. "It was was definitely an influencing factor in our decision."
Note: Click here to read the initial installment of the Pratzel's saga.