When Wil and Lauren Wood decided to sell the bakery they owned in Idaho and move back to their hometown of Logan, UT, the idea of owning an independent kitchenware store had not yet crossed their minds.
However, when the duo discovered that Love To Cook Logan — an independent kitchenware store that has resided in the small farming community of Logan for 30 years — was up for sale, they decided to take a chance and love a store that had been loved by its community for nearly three decades.
“It seemed like the perfect fit because Wil and I are foodies and we thought we can still be in food and be around people who love food and are passionate about food,” Lauren Wood said. “But really the reason we bought this business was because the community loves this business — it’s been here a long time.”
However, taking over an established brand is no easy feat, and the duo had to tackle many challenges in order to learn and grow the business. One challenge in particular, which has become a major hurdle for many independent retail owners, has helped drive much of the couple’s efforts: Differentiation.
“Our biggest hurdle with this industry is trying to differentiate ourselves from everyone else because we don’t make our product anymore. What is going to make us better and different? That is so hard for us because we are all buying the same products,” said Wil Wood.
For the couple, the first step was a store rebrand not only to reflect the style of its new owners but to reinvigorate its relationship with the community.
“Our customer base was women 50 and older. There’s a lot of people our age who are into cooking and eating so I wasn’t sure why they weren’t coming, but it was because everyone just thought of it as their mom’s or grandma’s store,” said Lauren Wood.
In addition to bringing in on-trend and modern product lines and re-merchandising the store with open space and tablescapes, the couple took to social media in a big way in an effort to differentiate itself from the big boxes nipping at the heels of independent retail and reach the younger demographic growing within the community.
The couple also noted the importance of the shop local movement and said their customer base appreciates getting to know who they are — insight that social media analytics are able to provide the couple. This, said Wood, has helped to sculpt their social media strategy, which is a mix of product-driven posts and recipes or kitchen hacks found on the Internet as well as family photos and more intimate glimpses into their lives beyond the store.
“Ouraudience is 80% local. People know who we are, and they like that,” said Wood.
The duo utilizes Instagram and Facebook, both food-centric platforms with massive marketing opportunities for kitchenware, and has since found great success, noting that they can see an immediate response to something posted on social media — especially when it relates to a product.
“When we put something on Instagram or Facebook, we can see the response in the store,” said Wood. “If we mention a gadget, that gadget will sell out that day or the next day.”
In addition to the algorithm they found works best for their clientele, the couple said consistency and value have also helped them boost their presence on social media and, in turn, boost their sales. Instead of focusing on the perfect photo, for example, the couple makes sure to be a reliable source of information for their following.
For more on how Wil and Lauren Wood use their social media to bring in new customers, pick up the Sept/Oct issue of GOURMET INSIDER®.