Welcome to 2016, which also happens to mark the 10th anniversary year of GOURMET INSIDER®.
As the gourmet housewares world looks forward to a busy start to the year with buying stops from Atlanta to Dallas, Las Vegas to New York and beyond, allow me to look back a decade to the launch of Gourmet Insider.
We recognized the opportunity then for a business publication dedicated to a new generation of gourmet housewares store management. From veteran owners to startups, they craved not just more information on the latest products and trends, but also more insight to help them run their businesses in a volatile, hyper-competitive retail environment unlike any ever encountered.
Where would we turn for such insight? From the actual gourmet insiders: Independent store operators who were eager to share their success stories and their missteps, if only someone would take the time to ask.
Unlike some corporately muzzled chain buyers, gourmet storeowners are a community in and of themselves. A cookware shop from Seattle doesn’t compete directly with a shop in Boston. These retailers appreciate the chance to learn from one another, and Gourmet Insider was created to give them an outlet for such supportive dialogue.
Gourmet Insider isn’t alone in its effort to unite these independent retailers. The past 10 years have seen accelerated progress by gourmet buying groups, such as Gourmet Catalog and HTI Buying Group, and by an expanded slate of trade shows serving this specialty retail channel with increased buying power and sharper guidance on how to negotiate today’s challenging retail market.
This remains a channel made up largely of modest hometown merchants who don’t pine for attention as much as they believe they have earned it. Most have earned it, often against difficult odds. And they deserve the focused attention of gourmet kitchenware suppliers, who may be finding it harder to avoid the distraction of a promise of bigger orders from bigger retailers.
Gourmet Insider was created to help bring everything into focus for the gourmet housewares business when so many other market factors threaten to blur the lines. Look for expanded coverage this year from Gourmet Insider, exploring the complex relationships between storeowners and vendors; and how both sides can learn more from each other to advance a retail channel that remains a vital outlet for industry innovation and growth.
We have seen many gourmet housewares retailers come and go during the past decade. That is the unstoppable ebb and flow of independent retailing even in the most robust economic conditions. We also have witnessed the creative determination of veteran merchants who refuse obsolescence. And we’ve welcomed new blood to the industry that is augmenting traditional business practices with new, helpful ways to engage today’s savvy consumers.
These retailers have plenty to say. As Gourmet Insider enters its second decade, with a big thanks to these retailers and their suppliers, we are glad to help deliver the message.