Patti Surguine’s Granada Gourmet, the subject of Kitchenware News & Housewares Review’s July retailer profile, was recently mentioned in Denise O’Toole Kelly’s “Everybody Eats” column in the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal. Here’s the text of that Kitchenware News & Housewares Review story:
Granada Gourmet is the Life of the Party
By Lorrie Baumann
In Granada Gourmet, proprietor Patti Surguine has created a haven in Ormond Beach, Fla. for folks who believe that home is a place to prepare food and share it with friends. “My husband calls it a cook’s hobby shop,” said the woman who was a teacher and an event planner before she bought the business.“My husband was an Air Force pilot,” she says. “It was my job to help the general’s wife with all kinds of soirees. I love it when people can come to me and find everything they need at my store.”
When Surguine bought Granada Gourmet in 2000, the business was located in a 1,200 sq. ft. storefront. She promptly moved it into a 3,000 sq. ft. space in the same shopping center near the ocean. “We just wanted to do too many things. A neighbor went out of business, and I took over that space…Now we can do the mix of things that I love.”
That mix of things she loves includes providing all but the actual food for customers who entertain in their homes. Granada Gourmet offers everything from the pots, pans, small appliances and knives needed to prepare the meal to the apron to wear while cooking and serving to puppets dressed in chef’s coats or server’s dresses to entertain the children while the cooking is happening in the kitchen. There are tabletop accessories and silk flowers with which to decorate for the dinner, cocktail napkins for the hors d’oeuvres, crystal in which to serve the wine and even small gift items to use as the party favors. “People often say we’re a one-stop destination for people who are giving a party,” Surguine says. “I want people to come who are planning something and don’t want to run to 10 different places to find everything they need.”
“We do the whole entertaining piece,” she continues. “We carry cloth napkins, from casual to dressy, and a full line of disposable cocktail napkins. People like to stand and read the cocktail napkins and they’ll laugh. I like that. I buy for my store. We carry all of the really fine cookware that is out there: All-Clad, Le Creuset, Swiss Diamond, Scanpan, Berndes, Viking, the Mario Batali signature orange peppermill from Vic Firth, Bobby Flay cookbooks—You know, everybody.”
Granada Gourmet also carries gift basket items for customers who are on the other side of those party invitations. “We do gourmet gift baskets,” Surguine says. “We carry 15 red wines and 15 whites plus a few champagnes. Although we do have regular wine customers, the wines are mainly to support our gift basket business. Cheese and sausages, products from Stonewall Kitchen and Rothschild Farms—All the big names in the business.”
Surguine regards her booming gift basket business as an opportunity for extra creativity. “We like to think out of the basket,” she says. She points out that gift baskets need not be packaged in actual baskets. For example, she suggests using a salad bowl to hold a gift of balsamic vinegar and oil, along with serving utensils: “You can make a beautiful gift out of that.”
Surguine has used an Italian cookbook as a base on which to build a gift of supplies to help create a fabulously romantic Italian dinner, sometimes even including the candles with which to light the table. “We like to be creative about thinking of those things,” she says.
Should such a romantic evening lead to a wedding, Surguine encourages the brides to register at her store. And when the babies come along, she invites the moms to bring pictures of themselves and their children into the store to help decorate the children’s gourmet area. This is where she sells Folkmanis puppets alongside child-sized cooking utensils and children’s cookbooks. And yes, she also stocks picture frames.
A member of the Gourmet Catalog Buying Group, Surguine credits the group’s meetings with providing her with inspiration and support as well as technical information and buying opportunities. “I highly recommend it,” she says.
After Christmas, Halloween is Granada Gourmet’s second-biggest sales season. “We do huge business at Halloween. We sell everything for entertaining, including witches’ hats,” Surguine says. “People come in and say they’re having a party. So they come to us to get their glasses and witch hats for their costumes and little black aprons with sparkles on them. We sell tabletop. We sell candies and books and seasonal foods; spatulas from Tovolo with a Halloween theme, little scrubbies for dishes in Halloween colors.
“Halloween is great,” she continues. “You don’t have to buy presents. You can be somebody you’re not, and you get to eat candy.” The store has a costume contest every year as part of the festivities. “The last Monday of September is the annual ‘Halloween Reveal.’ People are waiting at the door to come in. We serve refreshments, cookies, the bloody Mary mix that we sell in the store. The foods and the refreshments are all things we sell. We have things for kids. We have things for everybody.”
All of this helps explain why the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce named Granada Gourmet its Small Family Business of the Year in 2007. “I love talking with my customers. During our 27 years in the Air Force, we lived in 11 states, so there aren’t too many times that somebody walks through the door that I haven’t lived near their part of the country,” she says. She adds that she can talk to anyone and that’s part of what she loves about her business. “We try to provide a service that they wouldn’t get at the big box stores. We have eight on the staff with very little turnover. They’re like family. They’re all very customer-oriented. We go out of our way to make shopping at Granada Gourmet a great experience for our customers. Our interest in people shows. We have a genuine interest in helping them learn cooking techniques, hone their knife skills or plan a get-together with family and friends.”
Among those caring associates have been a number of teenagers, including one who is now a college professor, another who went on to become a bank president and one who just finished law school. Another just graduated from college and is entering a career in marketing and advertising. “We’re so impressed with them and proud of them,” Surguine says. “We have had wonderful young kids, teenagers that have worked with us over the years. We have had such a wonderful experience. Whatever they learned at my store, they taught us back in enthusiasm. They were wonderful with customers, and they’ve showed us things on the computer. They’re great. They really added and enriched the store during the time they were here. You do hate to lose them when they finish.”
Granada Gourmet is located at 197 East Granada Blvd. in Granada Plaza in Ormond Beach, Fla. Reach the store by phone at 386.677.0470.