Case Study

Implementing Keys to Success Drives Big Dollars from Fudge

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How Enacting A Handful Of Meaningful Changes Drove Significantly More Dollars In Fudge

Arch Store

The Need

Jefferson National Parks is a non-profit organization providing educational products and related services that enrich the public’s understanding and appreciation of America’s national parks, public lands and historic places. One of their partner sites is the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri.

The fudge operation started in April of 2013 in the Levee Mercantile Store at the Arch and then moved to the new Arch Store in the spring of 2016.
 

Setting Themselves Apart

The park service has strict guidelines for the items sold at the stores. Products must be locally relevant, historical in nature and authentic. It was difficult for The Arch Store to compete with other local fudge shops, given these limitations. The management needed to figure out a winning strategy for fudge under the restrictions.

“The Biggest Thing it does is adds authenticity in a way that the fudge is made here, because it is very local… It reinforces the thought process that the more authentic something is, the more it connects to our guests.”

Jeremy Lydon, Site Manager
Young woman sampling a piece of fudge at the fudge counter in The Arch Store

The Solution

The Arch Store collaborated with the Calico team to identify aspects of the business that could be enhanced in positive and strategic ways, contributing to greater fudge retailing success. 

Calico Provided

  • Guidance in maximizing fudge sales by placing the right person behind the counter. The management identified the appropriate team members who comfortably offer samples to all guests and provide excellent customer service. The counter shifts were organized to ensure the right people were always staffing the fudge counter.
  • An exclusive recipe for the Arch Store — Gooey Butter Cake Fudge — a flavor that’s authentic to the area and inspired by a famous St. Louis based dessert.
  • Advice on promoting fudge and attracting passersby. The Arch Store situated a highly visible display with packaged fudge at the store entrance to ensure site visitors are aware that fudge is available.
  • Improved production efficiency – Calico’s representative suggested a second kettle to speed up fudge production.
  • Encouragement to offer a “Buy 4, Get 2 Free” incentive to grow sales dollars.

The Results:

+44%
FUDGE
GROWTH

$225k+
SALES IN
1 YEAR

3X’S
MORE
PROFIT

The completion of the park’s renovation added foot traffic to the destination, improving overall sales at the store. Fudge sales grew to over $225,000 in revenue in one year, +44% growth over the past four years, at a margin of 76%. Much of this growth occurred after the improvements were implemented.

Adding Authenticity to Their Store

The exclusive flavor Gooey Butter Cake Fudge became one of the top three flavors in the lineup.  Jeremy Lydon, Site Manager, states:

"The biggest thing it does is adds authenticity in a way that the fudge is made here, because it is very local… It reinforces the thought process that the more authentic something is, the more it connects to our guests.”

The customer service-oriented staff offered samples and the upsell promotion to all guests, elevating the overall fudge revenue.

“When we clearly have someone who genuinely enjoys the job and enjoys interacting with people vs. someone who we are forced to put [behind the fudge counter] due to coverage issues, you can certainly see a dramatic decrease when you put that individual at the counter who is not really right for that position,” Jeremy explains.

Rick Trigg, Retail Operations Manager continues, “The best people are outgoing and happy to work with the visitors. That’s what helps us sell the fudge.”

 

The Perks of Proper Signage

The fudge display at the entrance drew people into the store to buy the fudge. On the table with the pre-packaged containers of fudge is a sign directing people to the back of the store to get a free taste.

The additional kettle helped keep the bestselling flavors in stock. Before the second kettle, the fudge production was done seven days a week. With the same team, they now make fudge four days a week and produce more than before.

The experience of working with Calico Cottage has been extremely positive.

“Working with Calico, it takes a lot to wow me now. I’m pretty amazed at the success we have had this year,” Jeremy concludes.


Consumers Love It, Too

  • …Try the fudge in the gift shop. The young lady helping us was just fantastic and the peanut butter fudge is amazing. S6479ONjamieg, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Take the trip to the top! Get some fudge! GET THE OOEY GOOEY BUTTER FUDGE FROM THE GIFT SHOP!! Very nice and family friendly. lkdavis77, Churchville, Virginia
  • This is a must see attraction… The gift shop is great and the candy and fudge is a must buy. JediKnights1
  • Loved it so much! Everyone who goes there has to try the fudge in the gift shop!!! Katlin C
  • Wonderful attraction for the whole family… Try the fudge shop – amazing… Daniel Allen K, Nebraska

Source: Trip Advisor