2013-01-03 / Front Page

Year after opening, Collin Street Bakery is still cooking

I t’s been approximately a year since one of the most anticipated businesses in the Lindale area opened its doors, and the people with Collin Street Bakery, at FM 849 and Interstate 20, are still excited.

“It’s been more than we could have hoped for,’’ said store manager Guy Robichaux. “We’ve met and exceeded our expectations.’’

Customers continue to enjoy the wide variety of pies, cookies, sandwiches and of course fruitcakes and Robichaux noted he’s seen many familiar faces.

“I’d say a good deal of our business comes from repeat customers,’’ he said. “They’ve been very supportive. We’re doing more business now than when we started and with the good team we’ve got in place, things will just continue to get better.’’

Robichaux has been with the company four years and remains upbeat about the future of his store.

The Collin Street Bakery location at FM 849 and Interstate 20 received a ribbon cutting from officials of the Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce. The Collin Street Bakery location at FM 849 and Interstate 20 received a ribbon cutting from officials of the Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are really blessed to be in a location such as this,’’ he said. “All the city officials have been so very kind and gracious, they’ve made us feel very welcome.’’ Robichaux and his staff also concentrated on local residents for the store’s workforce.

“We have been able to hire a wonderful staff,’’ he said. “All of our new hires have been from the (Lindale and East Texas) area.’’

For more than 100 years, the Corsicanabased Collin Street Bakery has been known primarily for its fruitcakes, which can be shipped to more than 190 countries around the world. But after the first sandwich and deli shop opened in Corsicana, it was clear this was another avenue that showed promise.

“We are always going to make and ship our fruitcakes,’’ Robichaux said. “But (the sandwich shop and deli) is a new venture and it has really taken off.’’

Along with sandwiches and the usual deli fare, Robichaux noted there are two soups of the day, every day, to choose from. The store is open for both lunch and dinner.

Collin Street spokesman Hayden Crawford said the company has one of its best customer bases located in East Texas. So it made perfect sense for the company to build its fourth location near Lindale.

“All the proper homework was done (on that store),’’ said Crawford. “We feel confident we made the right decision, especially since that particular location is going to be at the intersection of the loop (49).’’

The store is similar to the second location in Corsicana, which is also a combination bakery and sandwich store and is located on Interstate 45 just south of the city.

Collin Street Bakery was founded in 1896 by German immigrant August Wiederman. Its signature item has been and continues to be its fruitcake, which is shipped all over the world. During its early years, luminaries such as Will Rogers and Enrico Caruso were customers and many associated with the Ringling Brothers Circus ordered fruitcakes when the circus came through town. These workers ordered cakes as Christmas gifts and had them shipped to many places around the world, which was the beginning of the company’s mail order business.

When L.W. McNutt Jr. joined the business in 1958, he saw the potential in mail order sales and steered the company in that direction.

He began a direct market campaign to international customers and it wasn’t long that the company began accepting orders by telephone, then fax and finally online.

Today, the bakery ships to 196 countries and offers online ordering at www.collinstreet.com.

Fruitcake accounts for 98 percent of the bakery’s total sales. The company sells about 3 million pounds of fruitcake each year, which equates to 1.5 million individual cakes.

The majority of orders are placed by mail and during a three-month period, October through November.

“We are just so happy to be part of this area,’’ Robichaux said. “We’re going to continue to make sure we have a clean, good atmosphere and will always be a nice place to stop for desserts, sandwiches and everything else we sell.’’

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