Just the Zing
D’marie takes catering business to the specialty retail market.
It was a few years ago that Dianna Marie Seufer added a few flavors of handcrafted Tuscan wedges (flaky flatbread wedges) to her company D’marie’s lunch menu. Catering customers couldn’t get enough. So the company, based in the Cleveland area, decided to sell the triangles to the public in 2004, says Carlo Agostinelli, D’marie’s national sales manager. D’marie, based in the Cleveland area, began operations in 2000 as a corporate catering business and now markets several food and wine products.
After finding success at consumer trade shows, D’marie expanded its product base in 2006, creating a line of herb blended dip mixes to go with the triangles, along with its all-natural Frappe Vino, a beverage mix that can be added to any type of wine or alcohol and frozen.
The Vino & Spice mixes are combined with mayonnaise, sour cream and the customer’s choice of wine to create the finished dip. To make the Frappe Vino, the beverage mix is placed in a zip-top plastic bag, combined with 750ml of wine or alcohol, 750ml of water and frozen for three to five hours to create a slush.
D’marie also sells a “Party in a Bag” which includes the customer’s choice of Tuscan Triangles, a vino and spice dip mix and a box of Frappe Vino, all packaged in a gift bag. “This works great for things like special occasions, office gifts, cookouts and hostess gifts,” Agostinelli says.
Until recently the company sold its products at consumer shows and wholesale to select wineries and wine shops, but mall growth is a major target. The specialty food and beverage company is now bringing its wine-themed business to malls across America.
“It’s something different than another sunglass place or cell phone shop,” Agostinelli says. “Our product is something that you don’t really see in a super-regional mall.”
The D’marie cart includes a small barrel machine to dispense free samples of the Frappe Vino mixed with wine. When dispensing wine samples, customers will be asked for ID if they appear underage. Agostinelli says special licenses are not required since no food or alcohol is served.
Although the fourth quarter is very strong for D’marie with holiday gifts, Agostinelli says their products work well year-round. “In the summer time with the beach or cookouts, instead of a warm glass of wine you can have a wine slushie. Spring and summer are great for us with holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and birthdays all year.”
While D’marie is not offering franchises, the company is looking to work with independent dealers and has been in negotiations with as many as 10 malls. In addition, D’marie will begin selling in New Zealand, and has received interest from other international operators due to the SPREE show this year. Expect a 300% markup on products.
Moving forward, Agostinelli says his goal is for D’marie to become a nationally known brand. “We want to be a household name in our unique category, and our hope is to be in hundreds of malls in the next few years,” he says.
For more information, please visit www.dmarieinc.com.