GA Trade Nov-Dec interactive - page 8

hen Robert Valois launched in
2008, he coupledmail order offerings
of international, gourmet chocolates
with Lebkuchen assortments. The
German gingerbread and holiday
cookies were enormously popular. quickly
established itself as as the largest
distributor of Lebkuchen-Schmidt
products in the U.S. Today, Leb-
kuchen sales account for 80% of the
company’s business.
Two years ago,
entered into amarketing partnership
with Lebkuchen-Schmidt to gain
visibility in the U.S. corporate gift
market. “From our first orders, we’ve
seenGerman-American companies
embrace the option of sharing a gift
that represents their heritage with
their clients and employees,” Valois
explains. Although individual orders
by German-Americans remain the
mainstay, increased orders of
Lebkuchen as corporate gifts account
for the largest growth sector.
Brigitte Hartenstein has fond
childhoodmemories of her family
enjoying Lebkuchen during the
holidays inDusseldorf. Harten-
stein, CFO of STEAG Energy
Services LLC of Kings
Mountain, NC, became
one of the first corpo-
rate clients of Leb-
kuchen fromMostly- “I order
first for myself. Next, I order
Lebkuchen and liquor-filled German
chocolates for family Christmas gifts.
Then I select Lebkuchen assortments
for our premiere clients.” This will be
the fifth year STEAGwill send
Lebkuchenwith a personalized
holiday card to a select list of
customers. “Our clients know to look
forward each year to the new historic
tin design and the nostalgic cookies.
It’s become a STEAG tradition.”
Hartenstein notes the huge uncer-
tainties involvedwhen ordering
merchandise fromGermany. “Not
only is there an increased cost of
shipping, there’s always a concern of
when products will arrive and in
what condition. I ordered German
calendars as Christmas mementos
one year. They arrived the following
March.” This is preciselywhy
Lebkuchen-Schmidt advocates for
U.S. companies like STEAG to order
STEAG is located in neighboring
KingsMountain, NC. “When I place
my holiday order, the Lebkuchen tins
usually arrive within 2-3 days,”
Hartenstein explains.
catalogs were released on September
24, 2014. Reservations began
immediately for themuch anticipated
2014 Festive Chest, the Old Nurem-
berg Chest, and other favorite
Lebkuchen tins and gift baskets. “We
do our best to anticipate what our
C O V E R S T O R Y Expands U.S. Sales
LebkuchenUber Alles
By Laurel Bookhardt
RobertValois surveys cookie inventory
at awarehouse inCharlotte,NC.
GermanAmerican TradeNov/Dec 2014
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