Cherry Hill, NJ-based Kitchen Kapers, which has several stores in the greater Philadelphia region, has been a staple in the gourmet housewares industry since 1975.
Owned by the Kratchman family, with brothers Ron, Bob and Rick currently at the helm, the brand has changed and evolved through the years, but credits one constant to the continued success of Kitchen Kapers — staff training.
Bob Kratchman, co-owner, explained that for the last 30 years, the company has put together a vendor training session prior to the holiday season in order to prepare new hires and refresh seasoned employees on product features and benefits.
“We rent out the ballroom of a hotel and we bring in all of the staff, so we have all 110 staff members join us,” he said. “It’s really great to schedule it before the holiday season because it gets seasonal people up to speed, but it’s great team building because it’s really one of the only times all of our staff members from all of our stores are together.”
He explained that while the format has changed through the years, the management team settled on an open-floor format in which employees can spend as much or as little time with a vendor as they want.
“It’s so important to have all of our staff trained and ready for the holiday season and it benefits the vendors, too,” he said.
Kratchman explained that not only do the vendors get face time with each employee, but they also use it as a testing ground for new goods.
“A lot of times they ask the staff if they would use something or be able to sell something. The staff gets to give their input and ideas and the vendors are able to bring that back to the companies,” he said.
While the gathering does center around the continued success of Kitchen Kapers, Kratchman said that it’s not without fun, too. The company makes it a bit of a pre-holiday celebration to get everyone excited for the busy season ahead.
“We always do a little video about the history of Kitchen Kapers and then each store does their own little presentation. It’s really great team building and really good for morale,” he said.