Jersey VAR Bakes Up IT Infrastructure For 'The Cake Boss'

The Cake Boss

You can't win the deal without making the pitch. It's a theory recently proved by New Jersey VAR Exigent Technologies, which secured a six-figure project from Carlo's Bakery, a.k.a. TV's "The Cake Boss." It started with a cold call and ended with a complete, implemented IT infrastructure project just a couple months later. Here's a look at how Exigent won the deal and why the bakery chose Exigent as its IT provider.

For its first 100 years in business, Carlo's Bake Shop had little use for technology. Phones and later fax machines and email were all the company needed to accept orders for its cakes and other baked goods. But now that the company is the basis of a hit TV show on TLC, "The Cake Boss," its needs have changed. And Exigent came along at the right time.

Right Place, Right Time

Exigent president Dan Haurey admits a big part of winning the Carlo's Bakery deal was being in the right place at the right time, finding a customer primed for explosive growth. Still, convincing the bakery his company had the right answer for that opportunity was something Exigent needed to do on its own.

"Before Exigent came on, they barely had a LAN. They had nothing. We literally poured the concrete so to speak. We were able to come in and come into an established business ready to explode with groth but had barely any technology. Typically, a client gives us a small piece and that piece grows. This situation was pretty unique in a 100-year-old business," said Haurey

Make The Call

The opportunity began with an old-fashioned cold call—actually several of them—by Exigent sales rep Rob Kornbluh. "I've been cold calling a long time. I was sitting in my living room with my daughter. We watch the show. I just said I'm going to get into that place. I'm sure they need technology," Kornbluh said.

He made his first call in August but it took a number of calls over a three-week period before a message finally made to the desk of the head of IT.

"One day I found a note on my desk. It just so happened we were just about to kick off seeking some IT vendors' input and request for proposals," said Leo Minervini, vice president of technology at Carlo's Bakery.

Pictured here, some of the equipment Exigent sold to Carlo's Bakery.

Closing The Deal

Minervini called Kornbluh back, who listened to the bakery's growth plans and needs, Minervini said.

"He came in and from that moment it was clear to me they would be the right partners for us," Minervini said. "I'm presented with pitches every single day. The common thread that came across with other [IT providers] was everybody was just looking to make a sale. They'll sell you hardware or they'll sell you software."

Pictured here, Exigent's Dexter Lopina installs some equipment in the bakery's new 51,000 square-foot headquarters in Lackawanna Center, Hoboken, N.J.

Sell The Solution

Very few solution providers that Minervini talked to were willing to dig in with Carlo's Bakery and learn their business problems, he said. Exigent's willingness to do that got the company in the door and then the quality of its solutions won the deal, he added.

"Very few were willing to fit in and help you understand your business and ask where are you guys headed, what's your strategy and we'll help you architect a solution for it," said Minervini, pictured. "That was the biggest differentiator that I noticed in Exigent when compared to other IT service providers in the area."

Well-Rounded Solutions

Exigent, headquartered in Mt. Arlington, N.J., was founded in 1997 and has 22 employees. The VAR specializes in virtualization, managed services with a full turnkey, lifecycle management solution that includes its own branded managed backup and disaster recovery solution, Prevent, and managed IT services, Assurance.

"The fact that we could bring all the pieces together and put together a thorough complete plan for complete infrastructure, virtualization, SAN, increased up time, high availability, onsite and offsite backup, and ongoing managed services made a difference," Kornbluh said. "It's going to serve us well going forward, that we can put together a complete technology solution for a company of this size from soup to nuts. That's going to help us grow."

Pictured, Exigent's Tom Szabo helps connect Carlo's Bakery's new IT infrastructure.

Create Your Own Value

One of Exigent's strengths is its own Prevent and Assurance services, Haurey said. Assurance offers proactive monitoring, complete desktop management, unlimited help desk, product purchasing support and a virtual CIO component. Prevent includes a NAS appliance, onsite and offsite backup.

"It was one of the best moves we ever did. We decided early on to brand ourselves and not sell someone else's solution," Haurey said. "That's been real good for us. As a smaller company, you second-guess branding yourself but it really does resonate with customers. With your own solutions, if you sell the value of it, it goes over very well. We've had them about three years."

Pictured, Exigent's Lopina works on getting Carlo's Bakery's new IT infrastructure up and running.

Serve The Customer

"What they remind us of all the time is at the end of the day they're a bakery. They're gearing up to ship their cakes and treats all over the country and all over the world. They're also looking at expanding retail locations and kiosks. All of that needs IT infrastructure, which we laid down a foundation for with this project," Haurey said.

Pictured here, Haurey, left, and his family meet Carlo's Bakery's owner and TV star Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro.