Cora’s Cakes makes network television

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Business is booming at Cora’s Cakes in a Jar since the popular Food Network shined the spotlight on the company about a week ago. And at 1:30 p.m. Saturday the network will air the video once again.

Annette Beetz, owner of the company, said the phone has been ringing and the faxes and e-mails flying since the first airing on Jan. 9. She has beefed up the work force and added another phone line and hopes to be prepared for the continued attention from all around the country as a result of the national network feature.

&uot;We’re shipping out a tremendous amount of cakes,&uot; she said Thursday from her office in the old cafeteria section of the former Margaret Martin Junior High School. &uot;Orders are booming. We’ve received over 400 e-mails this week.&uot;

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The cake company is featured on the segment called &uot;Food Finds,&uot; and in the case of Cora’s, the network found the Natchez business through the Mississippi Web page,

As a result of the surge in business, Beetz already has a separate Web site under construction in order to capture as much attention and as many orders as possible.

The Food Network came to Natchez to film the cake production but also toured the town to record for viewers some scenes typical of the city where Cora’s is located.

&uot;I think people in Natchez will be very pleased with what they see,&uot; Beetz said. &uot;They show a lot of Natchez, and it really looks good.&uot;

What’s more, the people who are ordering cakes are asking for information about Natchez. &uot;This is great exposure for Natchez,&uot; she said.

Beetz purchased the company in 2000 from Cora Olier, founder. Since purchasing it, she has added some new cakes, including a sugar-free flavor.

Of the 14 flavors of cakes in a jar, the most popular among those ordered during the past week have been four &045; Mississippi Mud Fudge Cake, Natchez Pecan Cake, Cream Cheese Tunnel Cake and the sugar-free cake.

&uot;These orders are retail, $8 each, and all the orders are for eight to 12 cakes per order,&uot; Beetz said.

About 98 percent of the company sales have been wholesale. The retail sales are welcome, however. And in the Natchez area, the cakes are available at Southern Arts and Gardens in the Canal Street Depot and at Daniels Basketry.

Baking cakes was not foreign to the long-time health-care provider when she purchased the business. She grew up watching her mother, Muriel Beetz of Concordia Parish, La., cook, bake and cater for many years.

However, the new owner’s interest was not in doing the cooking but in running the business. &uot;I’ve had to learn the sales pitch. I didn’t have to market health care,&uot; she said in an earlier interview.

The program on Cora’s Cakes in a Jar also will air at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 24. The Food Network is at Channel 42 for Natchez-area cable subscribers.