Sep 26, 2012
Kitchen Kapers Adds N.J. Outpost
By Anna Wolfe
When Kitchen Kapers’ newest store in Marlton Square, N.J., opened on Sept. 21, the independent kitchenware retailer debuted a new concept: a dedicated area for cooking and baking demos.
The area is outfitted with four burners and an oven, explained Rick Kratchman, vice president of Kitchen Kapers. “It’s a dedicated space for chefs or manufacturers to come in. We want to have that aspect of something going on but not necessarily a cooking class.”
It’s important for the independent kitchenware retailer to showcase the new products it sells. “The interest in specialized cooking tools and innovative devices has exploded. So we are really excited to have a demonstration cooktop that allows us to show techniques that enhance the experience of preparing and serving fresh food,” Kratchman says.
Out of its 13 stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, only one, its Morristown, N.J., store, features a dedicated cooking school.
“One of the issues is that we’re in visible, high traffic locations,” Kratchman explains. “It’s just not cost effective to dedicate an amount of space to a cooking school…We do demonstrations in a defined area for that purpose.”
Since Kitchen Kapers opened its doors in 1975, what it looks for in a location has evolved.
Selecting a thriving development with diverse businesses is a must. These days, Kitchen Kapers is looking to be near specialty food retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, both which “attract people who are more of our customer base,” he says.
Kratchman identified “two big trends” among its customers: grilling and juicing/blending. “Within the grilling category, the Big Green Egg is amazing,” he says about the outdoor ceramic cooker. “It is one of those products people buy and it far exceeds their expectations.”
Juicing is appealing to health-oriented consumers who want to augment their diets with fresh fruit and vegetable juices. “It is one of those diets that makes sense. Everything in moderation,” Kratchman says. “To consume a healthy glass of juice made with kale that tastes great is a bonus.”
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