BrandlandUSA reader and freelance writer Lee Gimpel informs us that the Abingdon, Virginia grocery chain Food City has brought back some regional grocery brands including Kern’s Bread, a regional brand from Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s a smart strategy for regional grocery store chains. These chains are in desperate need of well known brands to differentiate themselves from national chains. Often, grocers simply create their own brands when they need store brands. That is well and fine, but often, bringing in a defunct or ailing local brand that has a long history gives an extra punch to what are often seen as commodity brands. Each region has dozens of these brands, just waiting to be utilized.
There is often free advertising connected to old regional brands. These brands are LOVED, and they help to create a sense of place. For instance, Flickr photographer Andy Robe took the above barn photo with a Kern’s bakery sign on it. That sort of publicity would be wasted if Food City hadn’t done what it did.
“We pride ourselves on top quality products, competitive pricing and exceptional customer service,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “Like our company, Kern’s was also a local family-owned operation and we’re thrilled to bring back such a popular line of top quality products.”
According to Food City’s release, Kern’s history dates back 144 years, when the first bakery was founded in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1864 by Peter Kern, former mayor of Knoxville (1890-91). The bakery operated from the present Hotel St. Oliver on Union Avenue in the late 1800’s, until the new building was later constructed on Chapman Highway. As the company grew and prospered, Kern’s became known as “one of the finest bakeries in the South”. Their top quality bread products quickly gained popularity throughout the southeast.
The bread line will be made in Knoxville by Sara Lee Bakeries, according to Mike Wardell, plant manager.