Seriously?! Local Cake Store Fondant Price Vs. Internet!

Decorating By Larkin121 Updated 12 Nov 2009 , 7:57pm by Toptier

Larkin121 Posted 11 Nov 2009 , 9:45pm
post #1 of 33

Anyone find that local stores have a crazy mark-up? I'm looking to buy Satin Ice (or another good fondant), and online I find it for $45-$47 for 20lbs (at 4 stores at least). With shipping, for me, that ends up around $66ish dollars.

We have two cake supply stores around Seattle. The first doesn't carry white Satin Ice, but another brand called Ice N Easy and charges $6.95 per lb, or $139. Sold online for $40 for 15lbs!!!!!

Second store has Satin Ice for $90 for 20lbs!!

How on earth do they sell it at those prices? Why would you NOT order online if it's cheaper by far even with shipping and it comes right to your door?

Do local stores mark up everything that badly? And how do they get away with it? Ugh, so annoying.

32 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 11 Nov 2009 , 9:49pm
post #2 of 33

The store I like here in town is higher on everything than what it goes for online...but they've got the expenses of running a storefront when the online suppliers don't, and I'll buy what I need there even at a couple dollars more, just for the convenience of being able to buy it locally.

But we're not talking huge differences like that...I make my own fondant so I don't know how the fondant price at the store compares with online.

sugarandslice Posted 11 Nov 2009 , 9:56pm
post #3 of 33

I know what you mean Larkin, my closest cake supply shop sells pettinice for $11/kg. I can get a 7kg box online so asked them what they would charge for the larger box and they said $77!! I can get it online for $43.

And don't get me started on their Wilton mark-up. I'm in Australia so all the Wilton, FMM, PME etc stuff is imported but their mark-up is obscene. I ordered the Wilton mini ball pan from the states for about $16. The cheapest I could find it here in Aus (even online) was $46 + postage! icon_sad.gificon_mad.gif

idgalpal Posted 11 Nov 2009 , 10:08pm
post #4 of 33

I dont know of anywhere close to me that I can walk into a store and buy Satin Ice fondant. I went to Calif recently and did a little research before I went and found a store in Berkeley that I could actually walk into and buy cool cake stuff. I was so overwhelmed by that fact that I didn't even realize how much more expensive it was to buy it at the store. When I got home I looked up the cost of a 5 lb bucket of Black Satin Ice fondant on line and it was about $15 cheaper including shipping!! Lesson learned! Oh yeah, I also learned the lesson that you can't take a 5 lb bucket of fondant in your carry-on luggage - what a dummy!

MrsNancyB1 Posted 11 Nov 2009 , 10:17pm
post #5 of 33

That's exactly the same way with my local cake supply shop. The Satin Ice 20lb bucket is $100!!!! icon_surprised.gif

Like you, I'll be buying my Satin Ice online.

hsmomma Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 2:06am
post #6 of 33

I buy Ice n Easy through Bakery Crafts for around 46.00 for the 20 lb. bucket. If you order 125.00 from them, then shipping is free. I have a commercial account, so not sure if they sell to individuals or only those with a tax id.

It is very comparable (though maybe a bit softer) than satin ice. But, for the can't be beat. I only started ordering it because Bakery Crafts discontinued the other brands. works well.

terrylee Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 2:17am
post #7 of 33

Same in California....Satin Ice is cheaper to buy online then in the stores. Only found one place near me, Marin County, to buy it but big $$$$$$.

Ruth0209 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 4:43am
post #8 of 33

Well crap. I'm making a trip to Salt Lake City tomorrow and I'm stopping in at a cake supply for fondant because I thought it would be cheaper. So much for my brilliant plan. And I need it for next week so I guess I'll pay whatever they want. How silly of me - I didn't even think about their mark-up.

Mensch Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:48am
post #9 of 33

But seriously.

Do you have a store yourself where you sell cake supplies to walk-in customers?

No? What a surprise.... then you have no idea of the overhead of running a small shop, or expenses incurred for shipping etc.

I do. I charge more than online prices. If I charged online prices I would only be making a few cents per pound, and that doesn't even begin to cover my expenses.

I can't order twelve thousand pounds of fondant just to get a cheaper price.... where am I going to store it? I have a shop in the middle of town, not a warehouse out in BuFuEgypt somewhere.

Gah... I'm so irritated I can't think straight. I'll have to calm down and devise a better answer later.

Larkin121 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:03am
post #10 of 33

Sorry Mensch, wasn't trying to anger anyone. I don't have a store. Overhead makes sense, of course. I just don't see how the sale gets made, that's all. Is it just to last minute buyers? People who run out and don't have time to order online? Loyal customer base who want to support the owner?

It's not that the stores don't have a right to charge it, I just don't get who is buying it at that price.

kelleym Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:09am
post #11 of 33

Of course brick and mortar shops have higher overhead than internet sales. But I still patronize mine, even if it means paying a little more. Because if we all stop shopping locally, then our wonderful cake supply shops will go out of business. Then we won't have the option of running to the shop to get more Satin Ice if we run out. Or a Magic Line pan. Or Americolors. Or GOOD cake boxes. Or one of the hundreds of other things I might run out of at a moment's notice that you can't get anywhere else but a specialty supply store. God bless them.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:37am
post #12 of 33

I'm here to tell you, yes my local store is higher. She can't do it any less because she doesn't have the volume.

If she could do it less, she would love to get it done. She buys stuff all the time. She's doing it now because of gum paste frenzy. She buys any thing we actually ask her to buy.

She's actually cheaper than the internet on more than one thing!

FromScratch Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:46am
post #13 of 33

Yeah... it's because the on-line places can usually buy it in wholesale quantities and can then afford to sell it for less. Most local vendors have to buy it just like we would from the supplier. I have a place where I can get a 20lb bucket for $60.00, but she gives business owners a discount... it would be $70.00 to the general public. She doesn't have to do that, but I am greatful.

So it's the ones who can store thousands of pounds of fondant that can offer it cheaper. And this is why a lot of local cake stores don't sell commercial fondant... they just can't compete.

julzs71 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:50am
post #14 of 33
Originally Posted by Mensch

But seriously.

Do you have a store yourself where you sell cake supplies to walk-in customers?

No? What a surprise.... then you have no idea of the overhead of running a small shop, or expenses incurred for shipping etc.

I do. I charge more than online prices. If I charged online prices I would only be making a few cents per pound, and that doesn't even begin to cover my expenses.

I can't order twelve thousand pounds of fondant just to get a cheaper price.... where am I going to store it? I have a shop in the middle of town, not a warehouse out in BuFuEgypt somewhere.

Gah... I'm so irritated I can't think straight. I'll have to calm down and devise a better answer later.

While your answer is correct, you have got to be the most irritating person. Do you wake up in the morning and just aim to be crabby? Can you say anything nice?

roweeena Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:54am
post #15 of 33

I generally buy from stores because I deal with the owners, they arent trying to rip me off, they are trying to survive like everyone else. I've recently had one of my suppliers go under actually. Bankrupt. Pretty much took the shirt off his back.

The price you get it for online is most likely the price physical stores pay for it. And they only have room for 10 boxes. Then add on electricity, rent, staff, advertising, cleaning, water, business licence renewals and maybe a little wage for themselves. Thats why the price is so bad.

Online stores have a huge warehouse and the only real overheads they have are for that warehouse and some internet. The overheads are lower and they buy hundreds of boxes, not 10.

So next time you are thinking "man this GFC is really hitting the little guy hard", perhaps shop at your local. Not an online store because the online store will still be there long after the little guy has shut up shop and moved away taking anything he had committed to the community with him.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 7:21am
post #16 of 33

My local supplier is actually less on quite a few things.

What a concept that I can buy stuff and only pay sales tax.

She gets it done. I don't know how she gets it done, but she does. I know how much I spend on the internet. She, always comes in cheaper.

Ruth0209 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 7:25am
post #17 of 33

Now that I think about it, I don't know why I thought it would be cheaper than on-line. I am just so tired of paying as much for shipping as I do for the product, I was hoping that maybe since the retail store buys more than I do that their shipping will be a bit less per unit and I'd benefit from that difference. Probably not. I guess I'll know tomorrow.

AmandaGudi Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 2:28pm
post #18 of 33

I think this is a very legit topic. I understand that it's great to support the local stores and keep them around but it is also very hard to justify spending SO much more on the same products. If I had the money I would love to only buy locally and have the convenience of getting the product in 20 minutes but I just don't have the budget to do that. I think the fact that someone would get irritated about this topic is ridiculous. Who wouldn't want to save money? It's common sense.

sadsmile Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 2:42pm
post #19 of 33

Yup. There is a small store in my area and I went in a all ready to get what I needed until I had sticker shock. Her prices were double- DOUBLE what I can get online and only pay 8 bucks in shipping for. If I just need one thing fine I'll go in because it would be the same in shipping. But for a few things I'll take that shipping charge and save my pocket the double prices! OUCH! She sold me 3lbs of Hi-rat for $17. I knew I could get it online for 7 plus shipping but I needed it right then. Lorain oil, pettinice everything was double priced. Insane! The only thing in her shop that was reasonable was the chocolate molds and she had a ton of those so I'll call to see if she has what I want before ordering that on line. But other wise forget it sista!

Larkin121 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 4:30pm
post #20 of 33

I would still shop at a local shop (term used loosely - both stores are an hour away from me, but one is near my brother's house so I can visit him if I go) for items that are better when you can look at them - like luster dusts where I want to see the exact color first (just made a mistake in my online order - the silver is too light!) and other smaller specialty items. If they cost more, it's ok because I'm able to select exactly what I need.

I understand the struggle for a small business owner... my grandpa had his own business until he retired at 79, my brother is currently waiting for an explosion of his start-up company. While I like the idea of supporting small businesses, I also can't afford much right now. I can't sell cakes until I someday find a rental kitchen near me.... any cakes I do are money out of my pocket and we don't have extra money. So, the fondant is a birthday gift to me from my husband, and i have to find the lowest price possible for him to get it for me.

FromScratch said a lot of stores don't even offer commercial fondant, and that makes sense to me. If you are a small store and you just can't compete, then it makes more sense to sell things that you can compete with - items that someone would pay more for because they can see them and make a selection. White fondant? Not so much - we all know what comes in that bucket. Luster dusts? Specialty molds and cutters? Yeah, I'd love to have my hands on them to see what is right for me.

Anyway, again, I wasn't trying to make anyone mad. I was just surprised to see such a difference, not thinking, I guess, about how much overhead affects it.

Spuddysmom Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 4:44pm
post #21 of 33

I LOVE my local supplier! I usually can't afford her fondant prices and some molds are out of reach but there is no substitute for being able to see those dusts in person - especially when you are deciding between similar colors. She always has something new and fun and we can bounce ideas off each other. She has amazing prices for edible images ( I think $6 pr sheet) which means I don't have to buy a machine for the small amount I use, and she is always there when I have a fondant emergency and need some ASAP. Your local supplier is a great cake networking resource if you are looking for other cakers, etc.

indydebi Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 4:59pm
post #22 of 33
Originally Posted by sadsmile

I knew I could get it online for 7 plus shipping but I needed it right then.

And there you have it. You are paying for the convenience of having it right then. If you're organized enough to order it onlone and keep it stocked, you can save a lot. If you get a lot of last minute orders, I for one, would GLADLY pay a premium to be able to have the materials I need to fulfill my order.

A full chicken is cheaper than one that is already cut up which is cheaper than one that is deboned/deskinned which is cheaper than the one already cut into strips which is cheaper than the ones flash frozen for instant cooking which is cheaper than buying it at KFC.

Convenience. There is a cost for the convenience.

Cost of shipping: I used to manage warehouses for a large manufacturer, being responsible for over $20 million in inventory. Shipping is charged by space or weight. Folks, fondant is HEAVY! Of COURSE it's going to cost a lot to ship. And the cake supply store has to pay that same shipping, in addition to marking it up enough to pay her rent, utilities, insurance, employees, etc.

alvarezmom Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:10pm
post #23 of 33

The store I buy from the fondant is more expensive and I dont buy it only the 2lb for $9.00. I buy that when I have small fondant wk that needs to be done and I dont feel like making MMF.

Some of the items are much cheaper than online and some arent. I wld still buy from the store because it is a convience to me.

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:10pm
post #24 of 33

Exactly. And most places that sell cake decorating supplies in my area aren't targeting me as their consumer. It's the hobby mama who needs a couple of things for one cake here and there. Every once in awhile, I have to pick something up at one of these places and I grit my teeth thru the whole transaction.

sadsmile Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:29pm
post #25 of 33

That's me the hobby momma- at least for now. But I can't afford to pay double prices on supplies for cake I am just making for family and friends. That drives the cost of ingredients up too much for me. If I had a business and could charge I would charge accordingly and support the local business. They need the business. I just can't afford it right now. So that has me looking to get things cheep because it's all out of my pocket. I wound up paying some $70 dollars for a just a few things that would have cost me less then $50 including shipping.
My hubby said we can't afford a hobby like that.. go get a walmart cake for 20 bucks and call it a day. He laughed when I punched him as he expected it and was just teasing. Actually he keeps telling me he wants to buy me an air brush icon_cool.gif His and my son's hobby of skatboarding is more expensive and we get to eat my cakes. icon_wink.gif While their knees just eat the pavment.

__Jamie__ Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:31pm
post #26 of 33

Yeah, and hobby mama not meant in any disrespect, but it's what I see here locally. Not geared towards those who sell volume.

Larkin121 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:37pm
post #27 of 33

And that's a good point... the two stores here can't possibly be meant for businesses who do volume because they carry so little of any given item. I haven't been to the 2nd store, but the first store has just like 3 of any item in the store. I imagine the businesses do bulk orders online or through wholesale anyway. So that makes sense, then, if it's geared just towards someone who is doing cakes every once in a while and is thinking, Oh, I should make a cake for mom's birthday this weekend, I'd better stop off and get supplies.

I'm that same person, except I plan things long in advance and figure out when I can buy each piece to do it since budget it so tight. So the internet works out for me. If I ran out of fondant, I'd have to make it at home, like I've always done so far anyway. But that's why I want to order 20lbs at a time... so that I can use it and when it's getting low order a new one....and hopefully NOT run out.

sadsmile Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:40pm
post #28 of 33

Jamie... Put em up... put em uuup.


__Jamie__ Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 5:47pm
post #29 of 33

Oi! Shoot.....I can't smack a little kitty! Hahahahahaha!

Rosa2745 Posted 12 Nov 2009 , 6:13pm
post #30 of 33

I buy most of my supplies from a bakery distributor. They sell to bakeries and the public. I found Satin ice fondant (5 pound) for $17. I was thrilled since I usually buy wilton for accents but I hate the taste and I can never justify paying so much shipping for one item. So 20 pounds would run about $68. Look around in your area they might be a lot cheaper then shops.

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