It’s hard to imagine a company on the rise at the moment — but one baking ingredient company is proving it can be done.
[Related: This Texas Bakery Makes 26,000 Poundcakes a Year – and Survived a Vanilla Bust]
The King Arthur Flour Company, founded in 1790, has clearly already survived the test of time. Now, the 230-year-old firm is finding ways to thrive amid the coronavirus crisis as people sheltering in place become at-home bakers churning out breads, cakes, muffins and more. The quarantine cooking boom quickly resulted in a sales bump for the firm.
We aren’t talking about a small bump, either — the company, headquartered in Vermont, saw a reported 600-percent increase in sales within a few days’ time as flour flew off shelves around the country.
Part of its continued resilience can be attributed to the company’s women leaders agreeing to stay in their lane. Co-CEO Karen Colberg summed it up when she told business publication Marker that “the first thing we had to do was agree on what we could accomplish.”
She continued, “During a crisis, there are a lot of problems to solve, and you won’t be able to solve them all. We decided the one we had to solve was how to get more all-purpose flour to consumers.”
[Related: Indulging Her Passion, A Baker Builds A Business – And Finds Herself]
It’s also the latest example of the company’s continued ability to adapt over time, using social media to connect. In March, for example, a video of Amy Driscoll, head of its Bake for Good Kids program, making blueberry muffins netted nearly 50,000 views on Instagram. And King Arthur’s account on the photo-sharing platform now has well over 500,000 followers.
But significantly increased demand, coupled with savvy online outreach efforts elevating the company’s profile, have also resulted in a strain on King Arthur’s resources — and Colberg doesn’t expect to catch up on supplying flour until later this summer.
She says an emphasis on clear internal communications has been crucial to staying on top of the situation. But more than that, Colberg and the team have been doing all they can to keep customers in the loop. “We needed them to be patient, and to understand that we were doing everything we could to get them flour,” she says.
[Related: The Kitchen Is Open (Sort of) With Branded Masks, Walk-Up Windows and Plexiglass Dividers]