Cook’s Pantry, located in Rochester, MN, commemorated its first anniversary at the end of 2014 with a week-long celebration, said Holly Mangelsen, owner of the Cook’s Pantry, as well as Acorn Pantry in Siren, WI, a town located three hours north.
Representatives from a number of brands, such as Le Creuset, Shun, Nordic Ware and more, attended the celebration and provided product demonstrations, food samples, tastings and more. Mangelsen offered daily drawings for giveaways and prizes, concluding in a $500 grand prize basket on the last day, she said. The festivities also included a neighborhood block party in which a number of local stores participated in the after-hours event.
“The celebration was a big hit,” Mangelsen said, noting that this wasn’t her first collaborative celebration of this nature. Owning Acorn Pantry, an established kitchenware store, has given her some experience. “We’re seeing lots of good things happening with this second location. Sales have been up tremendously fourth quarter. We’re much busier than when we first opened.”
Mangelsen divides her time between the two locations, spending between one and three days per week in Rochester, and the remaining time in Siren. The biggest challenge, she said, is delegating work to a new staff and catering the store’s assortment to a new clientele.
“We have a new staff and it was difficult to figure out what they were going to sell well. We began by ordering what we did well with at Acorn Pantry, and those are great products, but it was a learning curve to figure out what staff favorites and popular products were at Cook’s Pantry,” she recalled. Over time, however, she soon found that top sellers in the Rochester location include All Clad and Le Creuset as well as a strong overall cutlery department.
“It’s been a busy year and we learned how key communication is when you have multiple locations,” Mangelsen said. “But lots of good things are happening. We’re looking forward to 2015!”