What’s Cooking in Kitchenware
On a charming street in Beacon, New York, overlooking a picturesque mountain scene is specialty shop, Utensil Kitchenware. The 1,000 square-foot space, which opened in 2012, caters to cooking enthusiasts. Whether they’re whipping up delicacies for fun or out of necessity, they’re sure to find an array of items to assist in the creation. The inviting shop also lures chefs and bakers, both professional and amateur.
Prior to opening Utensil Kitchenware, the shop’s owner, Emily Burke worked in various aspects of retail and wholesale sales within the home goods sector. “I’ve always had a love of cooking and kitchenware,” Burke said.
The shop offers an extensive collection of cookware, kitchen gadgets, bakeware, barware, and coffee and tea products along with lots of enticing gifts. Retail prices range from $5 to $300. Burke is happy to offer professional advice about the shop’s products and how best to use them, and is eager to share recipes and cooking knowledge.
As for the retail mix, Burke tries to stock as many “Made in the USA” and European collections as possible. Supporting local is also a top priority, so a host of items hail from the Hudson Valley area, including cutting boards and foods.
What’s cooking at the shop? As autumn blew in, Burke began selling lots of Lodge Cast Iron cookware. With the holidays approaching, gift items such as festive cocktail sets from W & P Design, bottles by S’well and jugs by Gluggle Jugs also performed well. Stocking stuffers such as Chef’n ZipStrip Herb Stripper and Bee’s Wrap food storage were also in demand.
Customers are also gravitating toward wood products such as salad bowls and cheese boards, which are crafted from olive wood, acacia wood and black walnut. Cast iron is also popular.
Similar to the way a chef knows which ingredients will work in a specific dish, selecting merchandise is also a valuable skill. When it comes to curating, Burke brings in smart, interesting products such as Kuhn Rikon Peeler or the L. Tremain butter bell, which she uses at home.
“I like tools that do the job. If there are too many parts or too many directions, I generally skip it. I make it my job to have used or tried every product, so I can pass on my knowledge,” says Burke.
Display is also very important. To entice shoppers to explore and interact, Burke keeps one item on display (outside of its packaging) and places the rest of the inventory behind it. She wants customers to experience what they’re purchasing and to feel at ease with interacting with products.
When it comes to scouting out new wares, Burke heads to the International Home + Housewares Show and NY NOW. To stay abreast of trends, this kitchenware queen follows lots of cooking/food/entertaining feeds on Instagram and Twitter. She credits both for being an endless source of inspiration and product information. She also tunes into cooking shows such as The Great British Baking Show, Lidia’s Italy and America’s Test Kitchen.
Once monthly, the chic country town of Beacon hosts a Second Saturday event, so shops and galleries remain open until 9 p.m. On occasion, Utensil Kitchenware will offer guests a specialty cocktail that boasts a drink ingredient sold in store such as Mike’s Hot Honey or Wood’s Cider Mill’s Boiled Cider.
Burke credits social media, specifically Instagram and Facebook for their tremendous outreach and ability to generate sales. With retail expertise and a talent for selecting specialty items, sales are up. “I am currently on target to have a 10 percent increase over last year,” concludes Burke.