When Wil and Lauren Wood took over Love To Cook of Logan, an independent gourmet housewares store located in Logan, UT, they were eager to put their own stamp on the business.
Within the past year, the couple has tasked themselves with rebranding the store to reach a wider breadth of customers. The duo has since updated the store’s look, created a new logo and focused on updating its merchandising and product selection, but learning the ins and outs of gourmet retailing was also a key goal for the duo.
For the husband and wife team, one way to access insider knowledge and get a true understanding of the business was through their own “crew,” Wil Wood said, some of whom had been with the business for years prior to their ownership.
“We kept 90% of the crew that was here. They are teaching us. We get to learn from their expertise, and we get to flex our muscles on how to grow and run the business,” he said.
Lauren Wood added, “I would say my expertise is talking to people. I feel totally comfortable at the counter when someone is with me that has the knowledge base that I don’t. If someone comes in with a specific need, and that happens a lot, I have all of these amazing people around me. The people are what helped saved the store through all the different owners during the past 30 years,” she said.
However, for the duo, utilizing your employees is more than just a learning strategy. With the customer experience dominating today’s successful retail strategy, the couple learned to trust in their employees. They noted that a store’s employees are a major part of any successful business and should be properly utilized and supported.
“As a business owner, my first priority is not the customer. My first priority is my employees; developing my employees, making sure my employees are happy and that they know what I expect of them. Their first priority is the customer,” Wil Wood said.
He continued, “I think a lot of business owners try to dominate every job task and micromanage everything; it squashes the employee’s confidence. As an owner, you should let the customers know you’re there and committed, but delegate as much as possible and then follow up with your employees to see how they’re doing and how you can help them do their job. And, because I concentrate on that, our customers are getting a way better experience.”