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6th Annual Gourmet Catalog Retail Summer School is an Educational Success

Joel Feldman from Kitchen Barn, Nancy Tuyes from Cook’s Warehouse, Donna Halbert from Kitchen Drawer, Jerilyn Clark and Angela Skogen from Cooks on Main, and Vanessa Rozanoff from DKB.

Joel Feldman from Kitchen Barn, Nancy Tuyes from Cook’s Warehouse, Donna Halbert from Kitchen Drawer, Jerilyn Clark and Angela Skogen from Cooks on Main, and Vanessa Rozanoff from DKB.

Over 150 top retailers and vendors in the gourmet kitchenware industry gathered for class in Atlanta at the sixth annual Gourmet Catalog Retail Summer School during the International Gift & Home Furnishings Show. Gourmet Catalog members received exclusive and interactive classes covering everything from new products, exciting product demonstrations, and in-depth product training. This event provided a personal and unique learning experience for retailers, allowing them to interact with top principals as well participate in an open and candid forum for discussion and feedback with vendors.

This year’s new class format included a full day and a half of educational and hands-on 25 minute class rotations. Classes began on Wednesday, July 8 with a record number of participating vendors including Blendtec, Breville, Browne & Co., CDN, Charles Viancin, DKB, French Bull, Frieling, Hammer Stahl, Lenox, Novis, OXO, Peugeot (PSP), Swissmar, True Fabrications, and Zwilling. Each class created an environment for experiential learning, networking, and genuine discussions between stores and vendors.

GC Members enjoying the “Party in the Kitchen”

GC Members enjoying the “Party in the Kitchen”

After class on Wednesday, everyone gathered for a night of fun at the Party in the Kitchen sponsored by HIC, KitchenIQ, Brisker, Wüsthof, BUILT, InterDesign, Jura, Wellness Matts, and Dugan-Bliss & Associates. The kitchen was bursting at the seams with retailers and vendors enjoying food, drinks, and the company as well as special demos and tables set up by HIC, KitchenIQ, Brisker, Wüsthof, and BUILT. The party also allowed for late night shopping as most of the Gourmet Catalog vendors stayed open late for exclusive shopping.

Between classes on Thursday, July 9, Lenox made a very exciting lunchroom presentation including a great review of the new products from The French Chefs followed by GC store member exclusive launch of the brand new Kate Spade New York “All in Good Taste” Kitchenware collection. The All in Good Taste collection includes inspirational everyday kitchenware, dinnerware, and bakeware etched with whimsical designs and sayings. This presentation was an exclusive first look into the line for Gourmet Catalog members.

Gourmet Catalog Dyan Melton from The Everyday Gourmet, Wendy Amsbaugh from Tri-State Outfitters and other GC store members enjoying lunch and the Lenox presentations.

Dyan Melton from The Everyday Gourmet, Wendy Amsbaugh from Tri-State Outfitters and other GC store members enjoying lunch and the Lenox presentations.

After a fun-filled second day of class, students and teachers celebrated the ringing of the final bell with an Ice Cream Party hosted by Le Creuset. Le Creuset set up a wonderful ice cream bar with scrumptious toppings and handed out a brand new ice cream bowl and spoon to everyone in attendance.

Janis Johnson, founder and president of Gourmet Catalog, emphasized the unique effect of Summer School attendance. “This event provides such an excellent atmosphere for up close and personal interaction between independent retailers and vendors. We believe education and communication between the two groups is such a critical piece to success in the industry and we are so proud to be able to facilitate this experience,” Johnson said. “Not only are both parties receiving exclusive product education, valuable feedback, and a direct forum for questions, they are also developing and building relationships, and that is very exciting for us.”

Chef Bernard Janssen from Zwilling teaching knife skills

Chef Bernard Janssen from Zwilling teaching knife skills

Ruth Stenger Japzon, owner of the Handy House in Hagerstown, MD reflected on the importance of Summer School education to her business. “It’s so important for us gourmet retailers to know the new items coming out and to be able to see and handle them is even better. That’s where Gourmet Catalog’s Summer School comes in. There is just no substitute for being able to not only meet company representatives/owners but to have them show and explain the new items,” Japzon said. “We all need infusions of new ideas on a regular basis and attending the 17 small group sessions offered over the two days was incredibly valuable to store owners who care about knowing and growing in every way!”

Bobby Griggs, Vice President of Hammer Stahl, spoke very highly of his experience at this year’s event. “Summer School provided a unique one of a kind experience that allowed our brand to interact with, start relationships with, and hear back from our retail partners. This event has truly been the most rewarding event we have been a part of. To have the ability to bring new knowledge and information to GC store members while learning from their experiences with our product is time and energy well spent. I am very thankful for Gourmet Catalog creating this unique approach bringing vendors and retailers together.”

In addition to meetings, Gourmet Catalog Vendors and Stores receive a host of other benefits, available exclusively to Members. For a full list of Membership benefits, interested vendors and store owners can contact Gourmet Catalog & Buying Group at 214.855.0005 or info@gourmetcatalog.com.

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