Our Merchant Spotlight for September goes to AJ Jabr, a multi store owner in Michigan. The family owned business has been successfully running Citgo Gas for 3 years and 2575 Dix Station Inc for 12 years.
Merchant Snapshot: Roeser's Bakery
Roeser's Bakery is much more than just your average, every day bakery. This bakery's owner, John Roeser, has made sure that his bakery caters to customers in a way that stands out among the rest. First, he draws them in with the glow of his 20-foot neon sign that shines down the street. The huge sign calls back to Roeser's opening, over 100-years ago, and shines just as brightly as a sign outside a Broadway theater.
Roeser’s Bakery was founded in 1911 and although the world has seen much change since that time, Roeser’s is still a refreshing reminder of the tried and true standards of baking and a great neighborhood business. Opened during WWI, the bakery has continued to serve the people of Chicago through our country’s highs and lows. That isn’t to say that Roeser’s Bakery has been untouched by events of the past. When I asked about struggles his business had faced, John told me, “Sometimes it’s food costs- butter, sugar crop, eggs, etc... sometimes it’s maintenance costs- bread slicer breaks down, mixer breaks down, or one of the ovens breaks”.
John also mentioned a struggling economy can sometimes bring about struggles in his business as it does with most. John is an affirmative man, though, and remains hopeful and hardworking through it all. “The way to overcome them [hard times] is to just buckle down, don’t give up, find ways to be more efficient and do your best to keep steering the ship in the right direction, that’s all you can do.” With a family-owned business still in tact after over 100-years, it’s hard to argue that Roeser’s Bakery has proven this strategy to be a success.John says the staff’s mental toughness and grit through the hard times are just one part of his business' lasting success, though. John told me, “We have created our success mainly by offering a product that is superior in quality, baked fresh daily and given to you (consumer) with superior customer service”.
Over the years, Roeser’s has adapted and added new items to their menu to cater to people’s wants and needs. They are avid about listening to their customers and giving them the best good possible selection and conforming to whatever they wants. “We hardly say no,” said John when discussing customer’s requests. They take last minute orders regularly when making cakes and other goods and operate well under a ticking clock. This type of service and commitment to the people around them is what makes them shine more than the sign out front.
Being in business for over a century, peoples knowledge of the bakery has stretched far beyond the limits of Chicago. Mr. Roeser told me, "It's not uncommon for people to come here from Wisconsin, Indiana, the suburbs of Chicago, or Iowa". Their outreach is vast and growing, largely due to the unique colors displayed on their packaging that adds an extra bit of character beyond the delicious taste of their food. This isn't their first "big" feature either. Roeser's Bakery has made appearances in newspapers, magazines, and T.V. All of which, have increased their popularity in ways they didn't think possible.
Many businesses with this level of success might take the family out of the business and just use the name, but not this bakery. Mr. Roeser keeps a physical presence in-store to ensure that, "everything is being done properly and in a timely manner." He accredits this to hard work. It's not easy keeping up with market trends, handling inventory, and making sure the day-to-day operations go smoothly, but Mr. Roeser makes it happen. His outstanding work ethic makes this company successful and it's the reason people will continue to shop at Roeser's Bakery for years to come.
Roeser also credits a lot of his success to how active he remains within his community. Simply put, the act of giving back has made all the difference in how people perceive Roeser's Bakery. Roeser's Bakery is a member of its neighborhood Chamber of Commerce and develops strategies to help grow the community around them. Being a part of your community does not necessarily mean you have to be in association with an agency, though. Roeser's is a regular participant in things like The Donut Fest and The Chicago Fire Fest, which spreads their awareness outside of their West-Side neighborhood. His community participation does not end at the festivals either and the chamber of commerce meetings either.
Mr. Roeser wants to offer every person who has the chance to enter his store to walk out feeling like they've been taken care of. He accepts EBT to help those people who otherwise wouldn't get a chance to try one of his delicious donuts or custom birthday cakes. goEBT is just another way for Roeser's Bakery to take care of the people that have made his business so successful for over 100-years.
With many of our customers, Social-Media plays a large roll in the growth of their business. You can follow their pages @roesersbakery on Instagram and Roeser's Baker on Facebook, and keep track of their business in real-time.