Dave and Mary Weldy, owners of Chelan, WA-based Culinary Apple, know a thing or two about hard work. The 2016 GOURMET INSIDER® All-Stars and their staff members make the store something to experience for every customer that walks through their doors.
Open for more than 22 years, the independent gourmet housewares store is always looking for ways to improve on their customer service, whether it’s by adding new products, investing in staff trainings and everything in between.
But the Weldys know how to have fun, too. From cooking an interesting casserole for their kids to who they would cook with if given the chance, learn a little bit more about one of the most dynamic duos in housewares.
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Gourmet Insider: What’s your favorite dish to cook at home?
Mary Weldy: We love Joe’s Special (scrambled eggs with spinach, beef, onions, garlic, and mushrooms). It’s easy to make, and always turns out great.
GI: Who is your dream sous chef?
MW: Julia Child!
GI: What’s been your biggest merchandising fail?
MW: We brought in the Sous Vide ovens about two years ago. No one really knew what sous vide cooking was all about at that time and we had a hard time selling them, even with demonstrations. Now, customers are asking us if we know anything about sous vide cooking and if we carry the sous vide sticks. We’re ready to jump back in with the Frieling line of sous vide products.
GI: What is something you felt was a long shot but turned out to be a success?
Dave Weldy: We brought in a dozen bristle free barbecue brushes without really knowing how they’d be received. Well, it turns out that we’ve sold thousands.
GI: When we’re stressed out about holiday sales we…
Mary Weldy: We create a lot of custom gifts during the holiday season. The stress at that time of year comes from meeting shipping deadlines and making sure we have enough product in stock to fulfill all the orders. To keep it manageable, we just try to stay focused on the task at hand. We also make sure we have enough staff to serve customers and complete all our projects.
GI: What’s your favorite cookbook, the one you always reach for?
MW: The Betty Crocker Cookbook is still my favorite. My copy is filled with dog-eared pages, splatters and duct tape!
GI: What’s your favorite comfort food from childhood?
MW: The first dish to come to mind is actually a favorite of my own children. They still ask me to make cheddar cheese cashew chicken casserole. It sounds strange, but it is so good!