A Lesson in Inventory Management and Retail Best Practices
Napa’s Shackford’s Kitchen Store’ new owners continue the tradition and commitment to providing cooks and chefs high value, reasonably priced products while offering a variety of kitchen tools to choose from.
Mr. Shackford told the story of a University Professor coming to the store. This gentleman wondered out loud about how successful the store was. This professor taught retail marketing at a prestigious University and told Mr. Shackford that the store contradicted what he taught. The Professor said, “you have too many items, the aisles are too high, did you know the shelves are Pink, where did you buy these shelves.” Mr. Shackford thinks for a minute, and simply said “We give our customers what they want at a fair price and have been doing it for a long time.”
Regarding the shelves, Mr. Shackford built most of the shelves. Not much was thrown away. Return items were often cannibalized for parts. Need a stem for an old percolator? (that is the original pour over coffee maker,) let me check… They happen to have one.
Starting a new job as a chef and need knives? Shackford’s can outfit a new chef with a working set of quality forged knives for under $100.
Shackford’s carries an amazing and broad array of products. The new owners, Patrick and Alix Merkley, plan to expand the variety of products offered while continuing to provide all the essential products that Napa residents have depended on. Picking the products depends on the Shackford’s team as well as customers telling them what they need. Shackford’s carries an enormous inventory, but will still order unique items at no additional charge if the customer wants something not in the store. This dedication to customer service is so critical that the owners personally manage all special orders.
The Shackford’s staff makes the store unique. Customer Service is a focal point of the staff’s activity. Front line staff work with customers to determine the best item and steer customers to the right part of the store. If we don’t have the item or the item is out of stock, they are vocal about advocating for the Shackford’s customers.
Shackford’s has two full-time Executive Chefs. These chef’s work with the products. In fact, all the products in the store will be used in the planned Demonstration Kitchen. New products will be tested to Mr. Shackford’s high standards before being put out for sale.
Executive Chef and Owner Patrick Merkley comes to Shackfords with a broad business background, global exposure to food and years of catering and fine dining experience in the Valley. Executive Chef Alex comes to Shackford’s with service in top Michelin Starred restaurants such as Meadowood and Tra Vigne. Most recently, Chef Alex was the Executive Chef at Peju Winery.
Long time staff members are experienced and expert bakers and cooks. Members of the Shackford family still work at the store. Other staff come with experience in Retail Management, Food Service, Hospitality and wine sales. Mrs. Alix, as opposed to Chef Alex, has a background in home goods and residential/commercial interior design.
All these people work to make sure Shackford’s has the tools the consumer wants, cooks work with and chef’s use. What is coolest knife, what are the best gadgets? , Food Processors, pots and pans? Why does one work better than the other? Is the higher priced item better? Why one non-stick pan over another? Shackford’s staff will answer your questions.
Shackford’s is moving forward with the same dedication to serving the Napa’s culinary community as it has for the last 44-years.
Wandering around the store seems to be a favorite activity. Shackford’s is a culinary treasure hunt. Nobody buys just one thing. Shackford’s top selling items… Cake Boxes at $1.49 and Sodastream carbonation cylinder at $15.99. Shackford’s most expensive product… Aura One Hand Forged Chef Knifes at $750. Why does Shackford’s continue to prove the Professor wrong… because Shackford’s has the right products for the right jobs and has the fun tools for the fun jobs.
With the introduction of chefs into the store, the planned Demonstration Kitchen and other improvements, Shackford’s will continue to be the best cooking store in Napa. As the Demonstration Area is finished, Shackford’s will launch classes for adults and juniors focused on product and cooking demonstrations and possibly, the occasional Chef’s Knife fight.
Shackford’s is a kitchen store run by cooks and chefs for cooks and chefs. Stop by, ask a question, try out a knife, find the perfect gift. Shackford’s, in one form or another, has been located at 1350 Main Street in Napa since the 1950’s.