For 30 years, Plum’s Cooking Co. and its owner, Caroline Petersen, were fixtures in the Sioux Falls, SD, retail landscape, providing customers with an array of gourmet housewares products and services. When the long-time storeowner decided she wanted to retire, Plum’s was set to follow her into the sunset. But neighborhood retailer, Penny Klinedinst, was having none of that.
“Caroline told me one day that she was retiring and was shutting the store,” said Klinedinst, owner of Simply Perfect, a home décor store also located in Sioux Falls. “But I just thought about how much of her life she gave to the store and said to myself, ‘She can’t do that.’”
While Petersen enjoys her retirement, the doors of Plum’s Cooking Co. will soon be open again. The store, which has been closed temporarily, is scheduled to re-open in August under Klinedinst’s ownership after completion of a renovation and expansion project that will add 500-square feet to the store’s original 2,000-square feet of space.
“We’re doing a lot of things to the store that Caroline wanted to do but wasn’t able to find the time,” Klinedinst said. Klinedinst has owned Simply Perfect since 2006. Since then, the store has grown from 800-square feet to 8,000-square feet and features an array of furniture, textiles, furnishings, bed and bath items, artwork and clothing.
During the past several years, Plum’s and Simply Perfect have been neighbors on 8th Street just to the east of Big Sioux River. During that time, Petersen and Klinedinst developed a friendship and also collaborated on advertising and marketing programs. The effort to pool resources to promote each other’s stores was successful, serving to drive customers from Plum’s to Simply Perfect and vice-versa.
“She is my mentor,” Klinedinst said of Petersen. “We speak daily and I trust everything that she tells me.” That trust will come in handy, since Klinedinst admits to having little knowledge of the gourmet housewares retail world. While running a retail operation is in her blood, she will be relying on her staff to run Plum’s on a daily basis.
“I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know,” she said. “But, we have a bunch of really good people that we have hired for Plum’s and this is what they live for.”