Local Businesses Miss Pratzel's, Attempt to Lure Buyer for Bagelry



Note added 3/21/11: Click here for an update on the Pratzel's saga.

When Pratzel's Bakery closed on January 30, it left a hole in St. Louis' kosher food community. Nearly a century old, the bakery was the only 100 percent kosher bakery in the area, and its closure affects more than 200 wholesale buyers and the patrons of their retail location inside Kohn's Kosher Market on Olive Boulevard in Creve Coeur.

Some of those customers are going to extra lengths to get the bakery up and running again. Falk Harrison, a Creve Coeur marketing firm, has pledged to provide Pratzel's buyer with a year of free social-media services and photography.

"Our creative director, Steve Hartman, came up with the idea," explains Chris Reimer, Falk Harrison's VP of social media. "Pratzel's is a St. Louis institution. Businesses come and go, but when the only kosher bakery in town closes, it's more like the extinction of a whole category.

"We've often ordered their baked goods for our client meetings and office parties," Reimer goes on. "The closure happened so quickly. St. Louis has hardly had a chance to get used to the idea of no more Pratzel's. From the news reports we've read, it sounds like they tried to find a buyer but were unsuccessful. We thought, 'Why not try to draw further attention to the company?'"

Reimer posted the offer on the company's blog on January 31. "Within 24 hours we had $1,000 in printing services [from NJC Printing], ten free full-page magazine ads [from Avid magazine], $250 in office supplies [from Exec Business Products], free photography and post-production imaging services [from Goldman Photo] and hand-stitched retro aprons for the entire staff [from Stitch the Earth]. We did not ask for any of this," marvels Reimer.

Since then more offers have arrived. More digital imaging, from Pixelography, search-engine optimization from Reach Local, a free ad in the March issue of Sauce magazine, paper goods from Slice of Lime Design and an offer to tell the company's story from Act3.

Reimer thinks the social-media boost could help Pratzel's next incarnation. "The economy is horrible, and we have no idea if there were other operational issues at hand. In the end, I'm sure the Pratzels did everything they could to keep it going, short of engaging St. Louisans on social media."

Matt Mathison of Avid wants to preserve this bit of St. Louis history. "We want to do what we can to keep Pratzel's around for the next generation of St. Louisans," he says. When we heard of the effort being made by other local businesses to save Pratzel's, we naturally wanted to help. We just hope this effort is successful, because we will be the first in line when it reopens."

"I got involved because I thought it was a great opportunity to try and play a small part in helping to try and save a local institution," says Greg Bussmann of Exec Business Products.

Meredith Elkin of Stitch the Earth says her offer is a part of preserving Jewish community and putting some kindness into the world. "I've been going to Pratzel's since I was a kid, I've been taking my child there since he was a baby, and we buy their challah for shabbat from our synagogue almost every weekend," Elkin says.

"I think it's important to help any local business in need. Without Pratzel's our closest kosher bakery is in Chicago. I feel like any small business is a pillar to the community, especially when they offer a service or good that can't be found elsewhere in the area. I saw this as an opportunity to take part in a random act of kindness. It could also be considered a mitzvah."

No word yet from Ronnie Pratzel about the offers.

Note added 3/21/11: Click here for an update on the Pratzel's saga.

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