How Persephone Bakery Turned Holiday Giving Into an Incentive Program


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At first glance, Jackson, Wyoming, may seem like a quiet, quaint town with fewer than 8,000 residents. But take another look: Each year, more than 2 million tourists and outdoor enthusiasts visit Jackson and the 43-mile valley of Jackson Hole.

Ali and Kevin Cohane, a couple who met and married in Jackson a decade ago, are now a permanent resident of the small-town friendly community of Jackson and the bigger-than-life, natural paradise of Jackson Hole.

And since 2011, Ali and Kevin have opened three restaurants—Persephone Bakery & Cafe with locations in both Jackson and Wilson (seven miles north of Jackson) and Picnic, located in Jackson—as well as a wholesale bakery business.

Kevin, a chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, creates the menu, while Ali, a former graphic designer, handles the business side of the restaurants.

But business opportunities in Jackson can’t be forced, Ali notes. “The opportunity to open a bakery in a small building in town was totally random,” she explains. “And our second restaurant, Picnic, happened because I sat in a chairlift next to the property’s owner. ”

“We have things we would like to do to grow the business, but it is really about seeing what kind of natural opportunities flow to us,” she adds.

One of those “natural opportunities” are the ways Ali has found to use eCard Systems gift cards.

“When we opened our third restaurant, we wanted to make sure that concierges at nearby hotels were familiar with it. When you’re in a tourist region such as Jackson Hole, it’s nice to connect with the hotels. But there are so many hotels that it can be hard to coordinate with all of them,” she says.

As a solution, Ali and employees of the new Persephone visited each of the hotel concierge teams and gave them gift cards for a free lunch. Using gift cards worked well with members of the various concierges because they could try out the restaurant at their convenience.

With her graphic design background, Ali regrets that her busy schedule doesn’t give her the time to design more gift cards, one of the options in the eCard program. “But I have designed some custom envelopes for the cards that are really cool,” she says.

Out-of-town visitors aren’t the only audience Ali tries to reach with gift cards. She is constantly looking for ways to serve the local community as well. For example, during the holidays, the restaurants hand out free $25 gift card to customers who purchase a $100 card.

Ali also turned to eCard to help her enable a feature that allows their gift cards to be used at any of the three restaurants. “It’s a feature our customers love,” Ali says.

Jackson Hole may be a big-time tourist locale that offers spectacular views, but it’s also a small-town community that fosters friendships.

“Our connection to this community is the foundation of our business,” Ali says. “What we do would not be possible without the local support that greeted our first baguettes back in 2011—the type of support that continues today.”