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Gourmet shops consolidate; gardening store gets more space

Daily: ‘Everyday Gourmet trying to get better, not bigger’

JACKSON – After briefly closing for renovations, The Everyday Gourmet has reopened with a sleeker look, and the Everyday Gardener has blossomed with more

space.

On Sept. 30, coinciding with its annual fall herb sale, the Everyday Gardener reopened in a refurbished gas station, a longtime landmark in the Fondren District of

Jackson, that has housed the Everyday Gourmet and the Everyday Gardener for nearly two decades. Retail operations for The Everyday Gourmet were consolidated

to the Pear Orchard location, opened in 1994.

“We’re trying to get better, not bigger,” said owner Carol Daily. “Before consolidating, we were logistically inefficient with a freestanding stockroom and shipping

department and two gourmet stores. We found ourselves spending way too much time in back office functions staring at computer screens and moving merchandise

from one point to the next – and way too little time on the floor helping our customers.”

The move enables the staff to house all operations of The Everyday Gourmet – sales floor, cooking school, stock room, shipping, receiving and mail order – under

one roof. With 15 full-time and 15 part-time employees, employment at the 4,500-square-foot store swells to 65 during the holiday season.

“We are getting back to the original concept of The Everyday Gourmet – a high-end kitchen retail store that offers just about any tool the home chef could want or

need,” said Daily. “We will continue to expand our corporate gift business and Internet business, devoting a full-time person to these efforts.”

Susan Greer, manager of The Everyday Gourmet, said combining inventory from two stores has been a challenge.

“While it’s been incredibly hectic, the move has gone very smoothly,” Greer said. “Instead of adding space at the Pear Orchard store, we re-carved existing space,

and gave the store a cozier feeling. That’s what customers liked at the Fondren location, and we’ve gained that back by pulling some elements together. The store

looks better and flows better. Customers have been very supportive. Business has been good.”

To more effectively and efficiently handle behind-the-scenes activities for The Everyday Gourmet’s popular cooking school, directed by Chan Patterson, a prep

kitchen, featuring Viking equipment, was recently added, Greer said.

The Everyday Gardener, with two full-time and 10 part-time employees, will have approximately three times the floor space in its new shop, which focuses on serious

gardeners and customers who enjoy garden-style living. Established in 1992 with less than 1,000 square feet of selling space, the Everyday Gardener will expand its

offerings to include seasonal blooming plants and fresh cut flowers, more garden and porch furniture, a line of gardening clothes and additional accessory collections by

Mississippi artists.

“The Gardener has been bursting at the seams for several years now with incremental sales increases that were straining the capacity of the facility,” Daily said. “The

move to the old gas station will give them an opportunity to grow.”

“We are most excited about the opportunity to expand our offering of gardening classes, which have been operating at capacity, sharing space with the Everyday

Gourmet,” she said. “Now that the Gardener has its very own class area, we will be able to add more classes and workshops. We will also be marketing private

classes and special events for convention and tour groups.”

Suzanne Cade, co-manager of The Everyday Gardener, said the newly revamped store has a “potting shed” look, inspired by the trend toward garden-style

decorating. “In lists of hobbies, gardening is No. 2,” she said. “Our world is so complicated now. We live by e-mail, sit and look at computer screens all day, and

when we get home, we want to relax by puttering around in the yard. Even at a time when people are living on much less land, with patio homes and zero lot lines, they

still want fresh flowers in the house or blooming flowers in clay pots on the patio.”

In addition to cooking and gardening classes, The Everyday Gourmet/Gardener has added an unusual course, one that has been embraced by the business community:

dining etiquette. Clients include a local advertising agency, a Millsaps College MBA class and Viking Range, with several inquiries from local law firms, said Anne

McKeown, buyer at The Everyday Gourmet who teaches the course.

“Many people, particularly those in business, recognize the need for a refresher course in etiquette, particularly closer to the holidays when there will be more

socializing,” McKeown said.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lynne@thewritingdesk.com or (601) 853-3967.


About Lynne W. Jeter

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