During the busy holiday season, independent gourmet kitchenware stores are welcoming in eager shoppers looking for gift ideas, but also the home cooks and bakers stocking up on the tools, ingredients and little extras to help them pull off their holiday recipes.
And while the holidays are certainly a time for cooking, baking seems to take centerstage at the The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium located in Brandon, FL. Karen West, who owns the store with her husband Dave, recently spoke with GOURMET INSIDER® about the importance of balancing their baking merchandise — the hard lines as well as the ingredients and the finishing touches customers are seeking.
“We have a huge baking section in our store and USA Pans, Nordic Ware, Fat Daddio’s, Norpro and Fox Run supply most of our bakeware,” said West.
However, the store’s baking offerings go well beyond the pans and molds, she explained, so they make it a priority to stock ingredients and decorating essentials as well.
“We do a lot of classes for cake decorating, cookies, macarons, breads, pies, baking 101 and other topics. Therefore, our customers want ingredients to make from scratch. So pre-boxed baking mixes do not do as well for us,” said West.
Therefore, West said that the store sells a lot of products that are necessary for baking recipes from scratch. Customers will find flour, sprinkles and decorating icing in addition to baking pans, cookie cutters and cake molds.
For example, West pointed out that King Arthur Flour is a huge seller for the store, as customers eagerly seek out that company’s specialty items.
“We carry their pasta, semolina and baking flours that are available in their catalog only and not in grocery stores. People love the convenience of being able to buy one bag and not pay freight,” she explained.
In addition, West said baking flavorings is a popular request as well so she carries a wide variety of flavors of essential baking oils and emulsions from Lorann Oils, as well as that brand’s vanilla paste, extract and meringue powder.
When it comes to customers looking to decorate their baked goods, West said it is necessary to keep the basic tools in stock but also be sure to bring in what’s trending.
“We stock the Ateco line from August Thomsen that offers any baking and decorating tool you will ever need. We carry more than 250 of their tips, as well as their Russian tips, which are the hot trend right now,” she said.
As for the finishing touches, Rolling Pin keeps a variety of approximately 40 colorful decorating gels from Americolor and then pairs that collection with sprinkles, sanding sugars, disco dust and edible glitter from CK Products.