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COOKIE LOVERS CRUMBLE BY SWEET SMELL OF OTIS SPUNKMEYER COOKIES

 COOKIE LOVERS CRUMBLE BY SWEET SMELL OF OTIS SPUNKMEYER COOKIES
 SAN LEANDRO, Calif., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Selling cookies by smell may only be Ken Rawlings' second great idea, next to the name "Otis Spunkmeyer," which really wasn't his. His then 12-year-old daughter, Kimberly, thought it up in 1977.
 If the name is remarkably memorable, so the wondrously sweet smell of baking chocolate chip cookies seems irresistible to a huge, cookie- munching consumer market. That's what Rawlings figured on when he put small convection ovens on the countertops of any retailer, restaurant or similar outlet that would take them -- for free.
 Otis Spunkmeyer has also broken a cardinal rule for food distribution: they do it themselves. In the "old" days, Rawlings and his wife, Linda, would tote their frozen gourmet cookie dough in a van on midnight runs to Sacramento -- site of their first distribution center. Now there are 51 such centers sprinkled throughout the United States and cookie dough can be delivered anywhere (well, almost anywhere) within 24 hours! Ten to 20 more centers are set for Mexico, and Europe will soon follow.
 Now owner/founder Rawlings conceded, "The idea was pretty simple. Who can resist the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?"
 Simple, maybe. Successful? You better believe it!
 With Spunkmeyer's eight varieties of cookies a-baking and their sweet smell a-wafting across the nation from poolside resort lunch counters to ski lodge cafeterias, from exclusive emporiums of gourmet foods to noted restaurants and from truck stops to corner groceries, too, Rawlings expects sales of $120 million this year, with 80,000 customers -- rising at a rate of 1,500 per month. He's branched out, of course. Now there are Spunkmeyer muffins (the fastest growing segment), coffee and other products. Only 15 years in the business, Rawlings expects to be selling $1 billion annually in 1999.
 "The way we figure it, almost anyone, mom and pop store or supermarket giant, can be a customer for our products and we'll help them enjoy the sweet smell of success, literally," Rawlings said.
 -0- 6/2/92
 NOTE: Rawlings available for interview.
 /CONTACT: Charlie C. Coane, 415-434-8300, for Otis Spunkmeyer/ CO: Otis Spunkmeyer ST: California IN: FOD SU:


RM-MC -- SFFNS1 -- 6010 06/02/92 07:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 2, 1992
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