BY CASEY MURPHY
Collin Street Bakery is planning to open a new store concept in Tyler this spring.
Based in Corsicana, the bakery is known for its DeLuxe Fruitcake and opened a store on Interstate 20, near Lindale, a couple of years ago.
Robert Means, the real estate leasing agent for the La Piazza shopping center on Old Bullard Road, said Friday that Collin Street Bakery will be coming into the space that formerly housed Caffe Tazza, which closed last month.
Collin Street Bakery is testing a smaller footprint store, which won’t have a full kitchen, in Tyler. Instead the store will operate with the help of a larger store, such as the one in Lindale, he said, adding that if the new concept works, they could open several smaller stores surrounding their larger stores on interstates in Lindale, Greenville, Corsicana and Waco.
“We looked at several markets before deciding on Tyler as the best proving ground for this concept,” Hayden Crawford, vice president and a partner in the company, said in a prepared statement. “It will have a narrower product line than our larger stores, but our customers will find all of their favorite goodies, including our delicious Costa Rican coffee, chicken salad and other deli sandwiches, cookies, brownies, cakes and pies.”
Crawford said several demographic factors, including household income and restaurant sales per person, led the company to choose Tyler for its first smaller store.
“But more than anything else, it’s the loyalty we have seen from our Smith County customers over our 118 years in business,” he said. “In that time, over 30,000 Smith County families and businesses have ordered our fruitcakes and pecan cakes through the mail, both for themselves and as gifts. Our Tyler customers stop at our stores in Lindale, Corsicana and Waco when they travel, and to test a concept like this we need a robust, stable business environment where we and our products are known.”
Throughout the last 10 years, Collin Street Bakery has begun to focus more on its retail presence, going from just one store — at the production plant in Corsicana — to five stores, with the last one opening of Greenville last year.
The store in Tyler will be its sixth, and the first located in an urban shopping center, Crawford said. Collin Street Bakery focuses first on its scratch baking, then on coffees, sandwiches, soups and salads. The resulting mix, Crawford believes, makes Collin Street Bakery one of the last scratch bakeries in America, he said.
He said if the test store is successful, the company will open others like it in other urban markets, in addition to its planned expansions of stores on interstate highways.
“We have high hopes for this concept in general, and this site in particular,” he said. “As we roll out a test in one of the most competitive, innovative sectors of the food service industry, we couldn’t think of a better first location than Tyler, Texas.”