Non-electric bread accessories hot

NEW YORK Retailers and suppliers are discovering that slicers, bread knives and other non-electric accessories can be a modest but lucrative add-on business to the burgeoning, $260 million electric bread machine category.
Non-electric items, often retailing for under $30, are being purchased with machines that retail for $100 to $200; they are also being bought by consumers who own machines and need to cut or store loaves, said experts. In some cases, accessories are displayed and/or advertised alongside machines and mixes in catalogs, department and specialty stores.

“While they don’t make a huge impact, accessories are a viable add-on sale to machines,” said a Southeastern department store buyer who cross merchandises machines with mixes and non-electric items. “About half of consumers purchasing machines buy accessories. Accessories also make a great fixed standing sale for the person that already has a machine, comes in to buy mixes, and sees them. We also use them in machine demos. Their performance is pretty fair, averaging about 5 to 8 percent a week sell-through,”

Another department store buyer said machines and accessories allow him to make a statement in gift-oriented housewares, an area with little brand awareness. “In cookware, the story is brand. But with a hot, gifty category like this, it makes sense to tell the story in merchandising. Last year, for example, I sold 5,000 pizza stones from one company in a pizza statement. If the firm had another name, though, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the consumer.”

Integral parts of the “story,” said buyers, are slicers, crumb catchers, bread boards and combinations of the three. Designed to help the user slice a clunky home baked loaf uniformly and/ or catch crumbs, choices include upscale hardwood models as well as more utilitarian plastic units.
“Our grooved cutting board/ bread knife combination has become our hottest selling board overnight; and we offer 60 different boards,” said Lifetime Hoan president Jeff Siegel. “With many machines retailing for about $200, another $10 is no big deal.”

Hoan’s set has placed in A&S, Lechters, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Carson Pirie Scott and other department stores.

In upscale goods, Perfect Slices L.L.C.‘s adjustable slicing guide comes in a maple wood model, a maple/plastic combination and a fully plastic version, said principal Roger Fortney. It has placed in Bloomingdale’s by Mail, Marshall Field’s, Dillard’s and other upscale retailers.
Vermillion Inc. has added a creative touch to the basic slicer and other items. Made from ash wood, its four SKU Tenth Street Bakery line includes a crumber board shaped like a piece of bread and a warming board with a terra cotta center tile. The tile is heated and placed on the board to keep bread warm for 30 minutes, said national sales manager Gary Robinson.

While the products of Lifetime Hoan, Vermillion and Perfect Slices were developed for bread, Loroman Co.’s plastic lined, steel step pail was, ironically, originally intended for refuse.

Its life as a flour storage container, said marketing director Arnon Hiller, began when Anne Parrish, editor of the Electric Bread cookbook, wanted to suggest bread accessories to readers. Today, products are also sold for flour storage in Williams Sonoma and the King Arthur Flour Catalog.

The pails, available in several colors, have a food safe, removable liner. Offered under the company’s Brabantia assortment of Dutch made products, they hold 5 and 10-pound flour bags. Matching bread boxes hold two loaves each.
Plastic storage of loaves is another area vendors are targeting, with Frye International offering a Farberware licensed loaf storage/slicer. The airtight product is a microwaveable, cost efficient alternative to wooden bread boxes and slicers, said president Bud Frye.

Eagle Affiliates also has a plastic slicer/crumb tray, with the Betty Crocker licensed product suitable for cutting as well as serving. The device, said director of marketing Russ Gropman, is just as useful to home bakers as it is to consumers purchasing crusty, bakery made bread.

“Whether it’s because of the bread baker craze or store bought bread, a lot of unsliced loaves are being brought home,” he added. There’s been an enormous rise in the amount of loaves sold in bakeries, with a lot of supermarkets putting in bakery comers.

Cutting it Up

Bread knives are another hot accessory, with most manufacturers reporting significant increases in the item’s sales over the past year.

“We’ve experienced a 20 percent increase in sales of bread knives in 18 months, with many just buying the bread knife,” said Tommer Cutlery & Woodenware national sales manager Harry Hoffman. “We’ve also packed the knife with our bread crumber/cutting board for certain customers.”

Sales of Sabatier/Cuisine of France’s 9.5 inch bread knife have risen 30 percent, said president Loids Van Leuwen. “It’s just a standard knife in every manufacturer’s assortment. But no matter how sharp a knife is, you need a scalloped, serrated edge to cut bread or you crush it because it’s crusty outside and soft inside.”

At retail, a senior buyer for a nationwide specialty chain said bread knife sales are up 10 to 15 percent. Consequently, he may add exclusive combinations such as a knife/bread board, a bread and cheese knife or other sets.

Cross merchandising of knives and other products has gained popularity in direct mail catalogs as well, said Fridr. Dick general manager Michael Wallick. In Nature Farms, for example, some of the manufacturer’s half dozen bread knives are part of a promotional offer for bread mix, he added.

At department stores, cross merchandising is often done in sales circulars rather than at store level; knives remain in the cutlery department.

Wusthof Trident of America was one beneficiary of this tactic, with a major, upscale department store chain featuring its 10 inch Avante Garde Super Slicer in ads with bread machines and related items. Due to the knife’s success, Wusthof has added an offset bread knife, allowing the user complete knuckle clearance during cutting.

“They said it’s the most successful single item they’ve ever promoted,” said Northwestern regional sales manager Scott Severson. “In ads, it was shown with slicing guides and Panasonic machines. It is the only [stamped] Avante Garde product they carry and they sold out of the first order within a week.”

J.A. Henckels has also targeted the bread craze, having incorporated its Four Star and Professional S 8 inch bread knives in sets. Each set also includes a 5 inch utility knife for slicing bagels, said national sales manager Howard Ammerman.

Cooking for friends gets Hamilton juiced

We’d like to peek inside Khanh Hamilton’s kitchen gadget drawer in a few months to see if it’s still meticulously organized or has fallen into confusing disarray, as these catch-all spots are prone to do. Hamilton gets a pass. She and her husband, Neil, are still unpacking boxes at their new rural Waukee home, built to replace the one destroyed in a 2004 fire.

The Hamiltons helped reclaim Central Iowa dining tables from a fast food, eat on the go culture by starting a local Slow Food U.S.A.“convivium” (a derivative of the word “convivial,” for those not indoctrinated in the ways of Slow Food, defined as a fondness for feasting, drinking and good company). With all that emphasis on food as a unifying force, you might expect a kitchen drawer full of sophisticated gadgetry that would make Emeril’s kitchen look barren by comparison.

Instead, Hamilton pulls out a wooden reamer, a cousin to the more common juicer that, as its name implies, obliterates the pulp and squeezes every last drop of juice from a lemon or lime. Her friend Jo Ghrist gave it to her four years ago, and it was among the items rescued from the smoldering remains of Hamilton’s former kitchen. One side of the device is darker than the other due to smoke damage, but it’s still functional and absolutely essential, according to Hamilton. “Everyone needs on of these,” she says, twisting and turning it in a halved lime.

Nestled between an assortment of knives, shears and bamboo chopsticks is a “church key” that is, an old-fashioned bottle opener with an oval shaped end that resembles an ornate key to a massive door. Dark stains on its handle also reveal its pre-fire life. Hamilton explains it was salvaged because “it’s hard to find a really good church key.”

This one was found in Reno, Nev., or so the inscription on the handle says. “When Nell travels, he picks up things,” she says, speaking in a universal language that wives everywhere understand.

And, according to Hamilton, her husband doesn’t throw away much either, a trait betrayed by a wine cork that rolls to the front of the gadget drawer by the sink when it’s opened. She goes along with saving a few corks as stoppers for bottles she fills with vinegar water and fruit, but a humorous smile with a trace of exasperation reveals this area where couples don’t always see eye to eye. “I think he never threw away anything in his life,” she says, pulling from the back of the drawer a pastry brush made useless by its broken handle and then correcting herself. “But I do it, too.”
Putting the kitchen indeed, a household back together after a fire is a sometimes perplexing task. Friends hastily boxed items salvaged from the smoke and water damaged lower level of the house and stored them while the Hamiltons’ new home was under construction. As a result, the whereabouts of some kitchen gadgets remains a mystery. “A couple of weeks ago, a friend called and said, ‘I think I still have your grandmother’s china here,'” Hamilton says.

Making the kitchen comfortable for cooking and conversation was obviously a priority for a couple that has elevated mealtime to an art form. The gadget drawer yields four vegetable scrapers not the flimsy aluminum models that cost a couple of bucks but deliver hundreds of dollars of aggravation, but peelers with beefy, easy to grip handles. Why so many? Painting a word picture of fellowship so vividly detailed that the aroma of stewing apples seems more than just a memory pulled from the recesses of the mind, Hamilton explains that she passes them out to friends who visit when she’s busy peeling apples for apple sauce and other harvest time delights.

“It’s not that efficient,” Hamilton admits, “but the best way for people to learn is to come and help. I work better by myself, but it’s fun to share ideas.”

Hamilton’s culinary skill is legendary throughout Greater Des Moines, so it’s no wonder people seek her advice. She has no formal education in culinary arts, but because she grew up as part of a large family, she spent her share of time in the kitchen, where she learned to experiment with spices and flavors.

Delicious meals start high-quality Ingredients, she says. “When you have a good ingredient, you don’t have to go be real fancy,” simple and wonderful. When I cook, I don’t have a lot of ingredients. I start out with very good products, and the flavor can come out by itself.”

That’s easy at the 10 acre Sunstead Farm, where the Hamiltons maintain a “chemical free” garden. Vegetables are interspersed with the different species of flowers that grace the tables Hamilton sets when she caters a meal, including tomatoes of every size, shape and color imaginable; several varieties of potatoes; hard to find ingredients like celery root and sorrel: parsnips; leeks (15,000 plants this year); and whatever else strikes the couple’s fancy.

The garden has been harvested, and Hamilton eagerly sends her guests away with butternut squashes, white beets (they taste the same as red beets, but don’t stain clothing) and sweet potatoes. Protests of “that’s too much” fall on deaf ears. Hamilton enjoys sending guests away with the bounty of the land as much as she does cooking for them.

But that s not to say everything that has come out of Khanh Hamilton’s kitchen has been a culinary masterpiece.

There’s always the catfish.

While camping overnight at a friend’s farmstead, Neil Hamilton strung a fine at a pond in hopes of snagging a catfish. The following morning, the quarry had indeed been hooked. “We had to wrestle him awhile, but finally managed to him home,” Khanh Hamilton says, spreading her hands two feet apart to illustrate the size of the fish.
They carted the fish, still alive, to their home and invited the owners of the pond where it was caught to be their guests for dinner that evening. Between peals of laughter, she tells an animated story about the fish jumping from her kitchen sink and flopping around on the floor and she swears this is true chasing her into another room before the errant creature was captured anew, killed, cleaned and cooked.

Finally, the Hamiltons and their guests sat down for what they expected would be a delicious meal of sesame seed encrusted catfish. “It was pretty awful,” she says, wrinkling her nose in distaste. “We just couldn’t spit it out fast enough.”

But that’s something that almost never happens in Khanh Hamilton’s kitchen.

Make an expandable cutting board

A simple cutting board is one of the most useful kitchen helpers there is. The expandable cutting board described here is unique. It consists of two smaller boards, which can be quickly fastened together with wing nuts, to make a larger board for larger kitchen projects.

Wood cutting boards are often preferred by many chefs. At one time, wood was frowned upon by hygienists because they felt it couldn’t be cleaned properly. Then research showed wood had a natural substance in it that discouraged bacterial growth. However, there is still some dispute about this. My personal preference is to use wood directly for cutting vegetables and fruit, but disposable cutting sheets on the cutting board for raw meats and fish.

Hard maple (Maple syrup comes from hard maple trees.) is probably the best wood for a cutting board. However, finding a large enough piece for a full-sized board is tough. Often boards are made from pieces glued together. However, glued boards aren’t dishwasher safe. This expandable cutting board gets around this problem by making it easy to pull apart, so you have two solid cutting boards.

What You Need:

* 1 – length of a 3/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 24″ piece of hard maple

* 4 – 12″ lengths of a 2×2 (legs)

* 12 – 2″ long #8 flat head wood screws

* 2 – 3-1/2″ long 1/4″ carriage bolts

* 2 – 1/4″ wing nuts

Preparing the Parts

Cut the piece of 3/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 24″ hard maple exactly in two, so you have two 12″ long pieces. Because it is hard, it may be wise to use a hacksaw. Sand the edges of the wood so that they are rounded a bit.

The short elongated “legs” are made from 2×2’s attached lengthwise to the maple top. Two of these legs are used for each board. Each leg is attached to the maple top with three 2″ long #8 flat head wood screws.

You will first be drilling 5/32″ holes in the four legs. See Drawing 1B. After the holes are drilled, use a 1/4″ drill bit, and drill about 1/4″ deep in all the holes. This is called “recessing” because the screws’ heads will be “recessed.”

Two legs will also need holes so the two cutting boards can be fastened together with the help of wing nuts and carriage bolts. To do this, follow Drawing 2, and drill 9/32″ holes where indicated. Because the carriage bolts must go through the holes in both legs, make sure they are lined up before you drill holes in the second leg.

Putting the Parts Together

This project consists of making two identical boards. The boards can be used alone or fastened together with wing nuts for larger cutting jobs.

In the following step, you will be making marks in the underside of the maple boards. Use these marks as a guide for pilot holes in the maple boards. Set the leg against the bottom of the board where you want it mounted. To make marks in the maple board, put a small nail through each hole in the leg and tap it. Now, using a 1/8″ drill bit, drill about 3/8″ in the maple.

DON’T GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE MAPLE BOARD, OR YOU’LL HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR CUTTING BOARD! Do the same for all legs. (Notice the legs with the two 9/32″ holes should be placed so they “go together.”)

Before attaching legs to board with wood screws, carriage bolts must be inserted in holes. See Drawings 2, 3, 4 and photos. Use a hammer to tap them in all the way.

Following Drawing 3, attach the four legs to the underside of the maple boards with the 12, 2″ #8 wood screws. The individual cutting boards are now useable. To put them together, see Drawings 3 and 4 along with photos.

Using It

As mentioned, you can use each board separately for small cutting jobs or attach them together for a larger board for bigger jobs. Make sure to take the boards apart before cleaning. Once apart, the cutting boards are dishwasher safe. It isn’t recommended to cut raw meat directly on the wood. Rather, first place a disposable cutting sheet on it. Also, it is wise to wipe the surface with Lysol kitchen cleaner and then wash in a good anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid. Source for the Maple Boards

Environmentally safe bottom paint

In a radical departure from traditional antifouling bottom paints that contain toxins or biocides that kill marine growth when they contact it, the Interlux Yacht Division of Courtaulds Coatings, Inc. has introduced a new generation, antifouling, silicone elastomeric coating that contains no toxic chemicals or environmentally hazardous biocides of any kind.

Called Veridian 2000, this unique new bottom coating works on an entirely different concept. Instead of killing whatever clings to the boat, this very smooth, slightly flexible (and slightly rubbery) coating makes it difficult for barnacles, slime and other marine growth to get a firm grip on the surface. Consequently, unlike traditional antifouling paints, Veridian 2000 does not release a continuous stream of environmentally harmful and potentially poisonous compounds into the water.

Some accumulation of marine growth will occur when the boat is at rest, but due to the slick, silicone properties of this finish the normal movement of the boat through the water (plus water turbulence around the boat) will dislodge most, if not all, of this growth. So the coating can be thought of as virtually self-cleaning under many conditions.

Boats that are very slow moving, and those that move infrequently, will not clean themselves off as readily as faster boats that are used regularly. But accumulated growth can be easily wiped off with a soft scrub brush, large sponge, or soft cloth. The manufacturer recommends wiping the bottom off about once every two to four weeks in most cases. However, the faster the boat and the more frequently it is used, the less wiping will be required. And with proper care, annual recoating is usually not necessary.

Unfortunately, Veridian 2000 cannot be applied by the do it yourselfer, nor can it be applied in very boatyard. It can only be applied in certified yards and by technicians in those yards who have been trained by Interlux. There are four steps involved to complete this process and to ensure a proper and fully effective coating:

The first step is complete removal of all existing antifouling paint down to the bare gel coat.

The next step is careful application of Interlux’s Interprotect system an epoxy primer that seals against osmosis and blistering of the gel coat.

The third step is spraying on a specially formulated, non-toxic and VOC compliant white “tie coat” that is the key to the success of the entire process. This tie coat makes it possible for the silicone finish coats to adhere to the epoxy primer and it also reacts chemically with the final coats of silicone to form the smooth, low friction film that results.

The last step is spraying on two coats of the clear silicone finish that forms the final surface.

The cost of a Veridian 2000 coating will vary with the size of the boat. Generally speaking, however, total costs so far seem to fall somewhere between $24 and $30 per square foot of area to be coated.

Hand Cleaner

Boatlife’s new Waterless Hand Cleaner is specifically formulated for cleaning hands after working around the boat. It will safely remove such messy and sticky materials as polysulfide and polyurethane caulking without irritating or harming the skin, and is also excellent for safely removing dried paint, varnish, and other hard to remove stains from the skin. It contains no harsh ammoniated or chlorinated solvents, but does contain several skin conditioners such as aloe and lanolin.

New Controls

Quicksilver recently redesigned its Commander series of remote engine controls. According to the manufacturer, the new Commander 3000 Series offers contemporary styling, easy installation and efficient operation.

Three years in development, the new shift and throttle controls boast raised icons that operate by touch. The handle is contoured for comfortable grasp and operation. The dual engine control offers single or dual drive leg operation.

The Commander series is available at all Mercury, Mariner, and Force Outboard dealerships, as well as at MerCruiser stern drive and inboard dealers.


The new Flexi Brite cordless tool kit from Skil includes a super bright krypton lantern, a cordless screwdriver, a charging stand, and a removable and rechargeable 3.6 volt battery pack that fits either tool. This kit is part of Skil’s new Flexi-Charge system of cordless tools for do it yourself. They offer the benefits of each tool having a removable and rechargeable battery that can also be used in the other tools in that line a feature long valued by professionals because they don’t have to carry around different battery packs and different chargers for each tool. In addition, one battery can be charging while another is in use.

The charger included with the Flexi-Brite kit can handle two batteries and will recharge them in three hours or less. The lantern has a five-position handle for directing the beam at any angle, and the screwdriver is the company’s Super Twist Model 2211.

Fabric Treatment

Ideal for use on boat covers, sail covers, clothing and other items made of canvas or cloth, the new Waterproofing & Fabric Treatment from Star Brite is claimed to make all such fabrics totally waterproof, rather than merely water repellent. The materials treated still retain their natural feel and texture, and still allow for normal passage of air, so covered items are less susceptible to mold and mildew and clothing remains flexible and breathable. Most stains are also easier to wash off. The liquid is applied by either brushing, rolling or spraying it on the fabric.

Selling today’s builder the right way.

Measure your success by share of individual builder accounts, not by share of market. That’s good one to one marketing

In the competitive, complex and cyclical housing industry, a good number of retailers are ill prepared for the cataclysmic change going on. Traditionally, they have been comfortable mass marketing lots of products that they themselves bought for sale to builders. Such selling is no longer sufficient for success. It is product oriented, buy it and move it, not market and customer differentiation oriented, which are essentials for success today.

In the days ahead, builder retailers must focus on share of individual builder accounts one customer at a time rather than just share of market. Interestingly, according to National Association of Home Builders figures, no single builder accounts for more than 1 percent of total industry production.

As a one to one marketer, your goal should be to sell a single builder as many products as possible over a long period of time and across different product lines lumber, mill work, roofing, siding, everything needed to build with. You must seek new builder customers as well as concentrate on keeping and growing existing builders. Focus on the 20 percent of your builder customers and prospects who are the most loyal and offer the biggest opportunity for future profit.

Identify customer needs

Here’s what builders tell Professional Builder magazine they want from you. First, they want better communication. They also want more in store displays of product features; more information on product maintenance and long term product operating costs; and timely and accurate follow up on all product inquiries and concerns. In summary, better partnership.

Try calling at least three builder customers a week and ask them how you might serve them better or how you can help correct problems they may be having with your firm. Listen and take notes on why they buy from you and how they use your products and services. (This might surprise you.) Find out what they like and don’t like about you; how you compare with competitors; what your company does that annoys, infuriates or delights them.

Staple yourself to the order

Review the 10 steps involved in your order management cycle (OMC). These are order soliciting, order generation, cost estimating and pricing, order receipt and entry, order selection and prioritization, scheduling, fulfillment, billing, returns and claims, and post sales service. In tracing your builder orders, you will see and experience transactions the way your builder customers do.

Ultimately, it is an order that connects the builder to your company. In each of these 10 steps, every time an order is handled, the specific builder is handled. Every time there is a snafu, the builder sits unattended.

Grow your accounts

Industry studies document the following buying patterns

Builders generate increasingly more profits for you each year they stay with you.

As individual builder purchases rise, your operating costs generally decline.

As you gain more experience with individual builders, you can serve them more efficiently.

Some long time builder customers are willing to pay more up front for products and services because of the value of their relationships with you.

Loyal builders also can help you drum up new builder business. One of the leading home builders in the United States has found that more than 60 percent of his sales are the result of referrals. Service oriented retailers are finding that satisfied builder accounts also can help them find a steady stream of new customers.

Who is the builder of the ’90s

Twenty years ago, builders tended to be product specialists, most building only single family homes. Not so today. Today’s home builder is well diversified. The industry is becoming market driven, with focus on more limited production of customerized homes for smaller and better targeted market niches. Emphasis is on winning over the discretionary and more affluent move up buyer. In this climate, a growing number of builders are recognizing the necessity to transform from a sell a house mentality to a strategic marketing mentality.


In order to sell and service today’s builders better, you must understand the challenges they face, and who they are collectively and individually. Three major concerns loom over the industry rising interest rates, environmental and regulatory legislative issues, and volatile lumber prices. In addition, financing troubles, lack of inventory, rising land costs, and labor and material shortages are all driving up housing costs.

On a national level, prices of homes, both new and existing, will rise faster than inflation in the year ahead. The current median price of an existing house is expected to average $115,600 this year, a 4.7 percent increase from last year. New home prices this year will rise 4 percent, reaching $137,500.

David Jensen Associates, a market based community planner in Denver, notes Long gone are the days when builders could sell homes simply stripped along streets with little regard for the needs and wants of the market.

The adage If you build it, they will come has been replaced by Build what the market wants, and they will buy.