Bake Fresh Takes Second 7-Eleven Retailer Initiative Award

Honored for quality of products, participation in team-merchandising process

Jesus Delgado-Jenkins (left), Jeffrey Saunders,
Darren Rebelez, Paul Pierce

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. has awarded Bake Fresh Co. LLC the company's 2010 Retailer Initiative Award, citing the dramatic turnaround of a Colorado commercial bakery the Chesapeake, Va.-based company assumed just a year ago. Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics, presented the award to Bake Fresh president and CEO Jeffrey Saunders at the annual Retailer Initiative Awards ceremony October 10.

This is the second time the commercial baker has won the honor. Retailer Initiative is 7-Eleven's strategy for providing customers with what they want through strategic item-by-item management at each store.

"Bake Fresh has embraced 7-Eleven's strategy to narrow our focus with laser-like precision and drive continuous improvement," Delgado-Jenkins said. "They have proved to be a tremendously dynamic, forward-looking partner that not only produces great-tasting products but also participates in the successful team-merchandising process that goes along with building a great program."

After winning the bakery business for 7-Eleven's Colorado stores in September of 2010, Bake Fresh promptly transformed the existing bakery into a "first-class, efficient facility delivering noticeably higher quality product to local stores," the company said. Customers could tell the difference, and bakery sales in the market experienced double-digit increases, it added.

To show local 7-Eleven franchisees and merchandisers the remodeled facilities and new baking equipment first hand, the Bake Fresh operations team held tours to demonstrate how high-quality baked goods could be a compelling customer draw and increase store sales.

The partnership with 7-Eleven's local fresh-bakery operations team proved to be the catalyst for the bakery business turnaround in the Denver area.

"Winning this award from 7-Eleven, our biggest and best customer, is doubly sweet the second time around," Saunders said. "From our successful partnership serving East Coast 7-Eleven stores, our Bake Fresh team understood the company's expectations when we took on the challenges at the Denver bakery. Certainly our first reward for taking on that new business was the dramatic turn-around in quality we could serve up for 7-Eleven customers. The Retailer Initiative Award is just the icing on the cake."

Bake Fresh has long been a team-merchandising leader for 7-Eleven bakery operations in the Chesapeake and New England regions. The supplier has established production efficiency and execution and quality assurance standards that serve as best practices for other 7-Eleven bakery partners.

This annual honor recognizes a top supplier and business partner that excels in supporting 7-Eleven stores and meeting their customers' changing needs. Honored companies provide team merchandising, demand-chain solutions, beneficial cost of goods, category management, product innovation and creativity in advertising and promotional programs.

7-Eleven's merchandising and operations personnel nominated the candidates, which were judged on 2010 business activities. The 7-Eleven Awards Committee, composed of senior executives, chose the award recipients.

This is the 10th year 7-Eleven has presented its Retailer Initiative award. Last year's winner was The Hershey Co., another two-time winner. Other winners are Kraft Foods, Mars Snackfood US, Miller Brewing Co., a tie between UST Inc. and Bake Fresh, Pinnacle Food Products Inc. (now Insight Beverages), Nestle Waters North America and Anheuser-Busch.

Nominations for next year's award will begin in January and recognize efforts during 2011 that support 7-Eleven's Retailer Initiative strategy and team merchandising to maximize sales potential for both organizations.

Bake Fresh is a Chesapeake, Va., based wholesale manufacturing company that supplies 7-Eleven among other outlets with fresh baked goods. The company was founded in 1988 as a central production facility to service a multi-unit Dunkin Donuts Franchisee. In 1996, the company signed a wholesale manufacturing agreement with 7-Eleven, which continues today. In 2005, Bake Fresh expanded into the New England market and then the Denver marketplace in 2010. Bake Fresh delivers fresh donuts, muffins, brownies, cookies and other baked goods 365 days a year and consistently looks for ways to grow the 7-Eleven bakery business.

Based in Dallas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 8,800 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 43,300 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries.