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Sell On Wheels

For most gourmet housewares stores, every square inch is precious and any time a retailer can find a way to make floor space do double duty it’s a plus.
Mary Moore, owner of Atlanta’s The Cook’s Warehouse, and Pam Potesta, owner of Beans About Cooking in Belleair Bluffs, FL, are giving new meaning to the term racetrack merchandising. With cooking classes and demonstrations proving an increasingly important part of the merchandising equation, both have found that metro racks on wheels can help expand scarce floor space.
With limited space and funds, Potesta wasn’t able to build a full-service demo kitchen in her store. Turning to HGTV’s makeover shows for inspiration, Potesta took rolling metro racks and had them cut to counter height. She then added inexpensive pre-made Formica countertops purchased at a local home center, giving her 8 feet of countertop space. Topped with a couple of induction cooking burners, the rolling demonstration kitchen provided a portable, space efficient demonstration kitchen.
For the Cook’s Warehouse, a demonstration kitchen wasn’t the problem but classroom space was. With a large and fully equipped demo kitchen, Moore had the perfect setup for small group, hands-on classes. However, with classes becoming increasingly popular and with the need to occasionally accommodate larger groups, the store lacked the space for both classroom seating and the merchandise that ultimately pays the bills.
Aligning several metro racks, Cook’s Warehouse created a series of aisles on the selling floor directly facing the kitchen. During the day the racks serve to display merchandise. When it’s time for after-hours classes, the racks roll away, leaving a large open space for desks, tables or other classroom-like seating, only to be returned to their selling position when the evening’s events are done.

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