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Whisk named Kitchenware Retailer of the Year

Whisk is proud to have won the Global Innovator Award by the Intn'l Housewares Association.

Whisk was recognized as a winner of the Global Innovator Award (gia) by the International Housewares Association and the Kitchenware Retailer of the Year by The Gourmet Retailer magazine.

Owners Dan and Diana Saklad were honored at an award ceremony recently in Chicago at the 2016 International Home and Housewares Show, where more than 60,000 industry and kitchenware specialists from around the world gathered.  They joined recipients from 23 other countries who demonstrated excellence in areas such as customer service, store displays, and company vision, and are profiled in the February/March issue of The Gourmet Retailer.     

By Anna Wolfe
Editor, The Gourmet Retailer magazine

 

In less than two-and-a-half years, Dan and Diana Saklad have created Whisk, a thriving kitchenware and cooking school in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. For its achievements to date, Whisk received The Gourmet Retailer's Kitchenware Retailer of the Year award as well as the International Housewares Association's U.S. gia award for independent kitchenware retailers.

Before opening the kitchenware store, Dan worked in brand marketing and advertising for major consumer packaged goods companies. He also worked with Paco Underhill, author of the notable retail books, "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping" and "What Women Want." Meanwhile, Diana had grown up with "a foot in retail," explains Dan; her parents had operated an art gallery.

When they were university students in Minneapolis, the couple often browsed the kitchenware store Kitchen Window, the 2001-2002 gia recipient, for fun, admits Diana.

"Food was always way the way we decompressed," adds Dan. "We always cooked."

Fast forward to September 2013, when the duo decided to pursue their passion for cooking and opened a gourmet retail store and cooking school of their own. "People thought we were nuts," says Dan, who admits he had zero retail experience but "had the passion behind it.

"We decided to give it a shot. So many people were saying we were going to fail," he explains. "That made us stronger." The naysayers steeled their resolve to succeed, and they needed that determination to overcome a series of obstacles.

Read the full article featured in Gourmet Retailer Magazine.

Whisk Kitchen | A Community of Cooks

“I think cooking and food is something that unites everybody. Being able to share that with our friends and our neighbors people that we meet here in the store is something that really, really makes us feel like we are sharing our passion. Diane and I started this business with the idea of building a community of cooks but the true test of that is does the community build on itself and take a new life of its own? And that's really what's happened We've got the community of chefs and that's profession based and they cook in a restaurant Then we've got assistants who help out in the kitchen passionate cooks, people who just love to be around the kitchen. Our customers are a big community. We try to bring people into the store we try to educate them, entertain them, and inspire them. It's the sharing of the food and the technique and the skills that makes it so delightful. Whether it is sharing through a class, a party. Sharing tools that can make cooking more fun, easier. There is no other cooking store that has the inventory that they have. I get the expert advice as well as the product I'm looking for. This store is built with over 15,000 different, unique items. and all of those tools have a purpose. We've got the tool that will provide value, and also help them accomplish whatever they want to accomplish. When students come in for our classes they can expect great training, technique, fun, and a party! But they can pick and choose what they want We have some students that come in so they can up their game We've got other students who might come in for a Friday or Saturday night They're getting a show, they are getting technical training but they sit back, relax, sip on a glass of wine and it's their choice how much they participate. I love that look on a persons face when they go "oh my gosh, I can't wait to go home and try this out" Literally, cooking changes the chemical compounds in food Figuratively, cooking changes the way you eat, it changes the way people interact together, and it changes your experience. It's in that process, where you're sitting together, you're cooking you're learning about what's being cooked, but really what's happening is you're starting to talk about life stories. It's through those life stories that you end up getting enriched yourself because it just broadens your experience Everyone has to sustain themselves and if we can do it together in the kitchen it's something that we really want to nurture in our community. We are really, truly a community of cooks and people love it.”