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Chocolate, flowers and a loan


Forget the toaster. Commercial Federal Bank is teaming with confectioner Chocolate Storybook and Boesen the Florist at the bank’s 801 Grand Ave. branch to offer customers treats and entice potential clients to do business there.

After an agreement inked earlier this month, the bank branch, located on the skywalk level of 801 Grand, on Dec. 8 began offering flowers, candy, gift cards and other items. Under terms of the agreement, Commercial Federal will lease space to the two companies. The sales counter will be tended by a representative whose salary is paid for by both Chocolate Storybook and Boesen’s.

When it comes to retailing activity, the skywalk system in and around 801 Grand is rather thin, especially compared with the skywalk level of the Kaleidoscope at the Hub three blocks away. The area, however, is host to some of Des Moines’ largest employers, including Principal Financial Group Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc. By adding such non-traditional products at the bank, Commercial Federal is hoping to lure some of those workers to its branch, as well as provide more convenience for existing customers.

“We were looking for ways to get more foot traffic in the branch, and we thought this might be worth a shot,” said Chris Hensley, Commercial Federal’s vice president of community investment.

The agreement follows a partnership that the owners of Chocolate Storybook formed last month with the Boesen family, which for four generations has owned and operated the flower shop chain, the largest in Des Moines. In that agreement, Chocolate Storybook agreed to sell its confections in four of Boesen’s 15 retail locations.

Commercial Federal has 13 branches in Greater Des Moines. Products from Chocolate Storybook and Boesen’s will be available during normal banking hours, which are Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hensley said.

She said the three companies plan to cross-promote each other’s products.

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