Chef’s Shoppe Gourmet Kitchen, a 2017 GOURMET INSIDER® All-Star, has certainly asserted itself in its community as a kitchenware shop. However the consumables side of the business draws just as much attention to the Edwardsville, IL-based store.
“Without consumables, a good customer comes in three or four times a year. But with consumables, we have customers come in three or four times a month for those. And while they are here for the consumables, they see what you have and next time they need a gift they will remember you and come back,” said co-owner Scott Schneider.
Nancy and Scott Schneider started their consumable journey soon after they settled into their new role as owners of Chef’s Shoppe. The duo took over the store from its previous owner in 2006 and quickly realized they needed more space for the store. So, in 2009 they moved the shop to their current location.
It was at that time that the Schneiders decided to introduce homemade fudge into the mix. Then, in 2012 they added gourmet popcorn that they make themselves in the store, a business that the shop has become known for.
“We figured why not, everyone loves popcorn,” said Nancy.
At the time, Scott retired from his corporate job and was ready to dive into a new project for the store. The duo invested in the equipment and the training that is necessary to pop and coat fresh made popcorn in over 70 flavors on a daily basis.
They later expanded once again, this time taking over 2,500 square feet adjacent to the shop. This move enabled them to create a space for their gourmet popcorn, equipment and the fudge. The retailer took the opportunity to also add 160 candy dispensers.
This section of the store is one for the senses, explained Nancy. It lures customers in and then also enables them to sneak a peek next store to the main section of the store, where they are no doubt always invited to browse.
As for the hard goods side of the store, Nancy and Scott continue to stock consumables via a variety of shelf stable items, including a small selection of Chef’s Shoppe branded items like stuffed olives and pickles.
They also recently moved their olive oil and balsamic vinegar “bar” to the front of the store, inviting customers to taste and experience the various flavors Chef’s Shoppe offers.
They do the same with fresh coffee and teas, which is brewed daily to entice customers to try different flavors and of course pick up a bags of coffee beans and maybe a few coffee accessories to boot.
“If you get them in the door you can sell something to them. Trick is to increase your foot traffic with consumables. It is all about foot traffic and how many people you can get through the door,” said Nancy.