Mary of Puddin Hill Catalog Closes

Food gifts cataloger Mary of Puddin Hill is closing. The company, which had launched in 1948 as a maker of Texas Pecan cakes, shut its store on May 21.

The merchant will continue to take web, phone, and catalog orders for “as long as we can,” says owner Ken Bain, who bought the business in October 1999. The decision was “very difficult because of our great employees and great products,” he says.

It wasn’t just the economy that’s forcing Mary of Puddin Hill to close, although that was a significant factor, Bain says. The rising raw material costs put pressure on pricing, he notes.

He also blamed government regulations and taxes, and increasing mailing and printing costs, not to mention problems Bain says he’s had with several of the company’s software vendors.

Mary of Puddin Hill, which was also known for its chocolates and Praline Pecan pie, mailed its first catalog in the 1970s, Bain says. The company’s annual catalog circulation was between 450,000-550,000.

Bain says the Greenville, TX-based company’s highest annual sales in the past five years were $1.65 million. Mary of Puddin Hill used one distribution center, and had as many as 75 employees this year, Bain says.

Is there any chance someone could buy the company? It’s possible: “We have interest from a variety of companies and individual investors,” Bain says. “We manufacture as well as sell our products wholesale, retail, web, as well as catalog.”

“We plan to remain a going concern, maybe with a different approach,” Bain says. “The brand and product will not die.”

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