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Marcon Pies Inc.

Don Walsh and Rod Krahl
Don Walsh and Rod Krahl purchased MarCon Pies in Washington in December 2002.

The aroma of freshly baked pies filling the air and overwhelming the senses is noticed immediately upon arrival at this business. For Don Walsh, however, it’s just another day at the office and he’s not even aware of the tempting smell until someone else reminds him.

Walsh partnered with Rod Krahl to purchase MarCon Pies, Inc., in December 2002 and together they have been working to grow the business. Krahl oversees deliveries and sales while Walsh handles the accounting and day-to-day operations of the business, which is based in Washington, Kansas.

Marilyn Hanshaw, co-founder of the business
Marilyn Hanshaw, co-founder of the business, continues to work at MarCon Pies specializing in making crème pies.

“Rod is the salesperson type and I’m the administrative type so together we make a good combination,” says Walsh.

MarCon Pies began approximately 25 years ago when Marilyn Hanshaw and Connie Allen began baking pies for auction lunch stands in their own kitchens. Increased requests for their pies soon evolved into a local delivery route. When their homes were filled with pies, they eventually purchased a separate building to accommodate the growing business. Marilyn continues to work at the business specializing in making crème pies.
“We’re making mom’s and grandma’s pies because people just don’t have as much time to bake anymore,” Walsh says.

Walsh says their fruit filling and the cholesterol free canola oil pie crusts, among other attributes, set a MarCon pie apart from the competition.

“We add enough fruit that there’s quantity and quality,” Walsh says. “MarCon already had an excellent reputation, which helped in the acquisition and we’re trying to maintain those same standards.”

The business sells more than 80 varieties of pies and cheesecakes to supermarkets, restaurants, and to customers at their retail shop in the factory. The standard varieties include fruit, crunch, crème, specialty and no sugar added pies, although Walsh says they take special requests and will make nearly any kind if asked.
“With all the varieties we offer, our two biggest sellers are still basic apple and cherry,” says Walsh.

The majority of their pies are sold fresh baked, but they also sell baked frozen and unbaked frozen pies. Pies are baked Monday through Thursday and delivered Tuesday through Friday so they are delivered fresh.

“In order to compete with any other area that we’re not already in, we’ll have to get more into frozen pies. Once they’re frozen, you can start shipping them anywhere in the country,” Walsh says.

Their deliveries cover roughly a 125-mile radius from Washington, plus Kansas City. They entered the Kansas City metropolitan market in fall 2004 when they began selling to Cosentino’s Price Choppers stores. In spring 2005, MarCon Pies was featured in an article in the Kansas City Star and sales have since increased significantly in that market.

MarCon Pies, with 20 full-time employees, bakes about 400 pies most days. The holiday rush may raise those numbers to 1,000 or 1,500 per day and during the 2005 Easter weekend they baked nearly 3,000 pies.

“Rod and I have been trying to help the business grow since taking over in 2002,” Walsh says. “Last year we were able to increase sales by about 12% and we’re on track to have a significant increase this year as well.”

They have grown enough that the business was one of eight Emerging Businesses of the Year recognized in March 2005 during the Kansas Small Business Development Center’s celebration in the state Capitol. Walsh, however, says that an even bigger reward is a satisfied customer.

“Knowing that we are producing something that someone else likes is a great feeling,” Walsh says.

The MarCon factory is located at 124 West 8th Street in Washington and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are welcome with advanced notice. For more information, call 785-325-2439 or visit their website at www.marconpies.com.

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated July 17, 2006
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