talking shop ‘I love this time of year’

Guest columnist Tom Carter, director of newly-crowned national gia winner Potters Cookshop in Essex, airs his views from the shop floor

Potters Cookhop director Tom Carter says: “As I sit here writing this article in October, I’m still in shock after winning the gia award - and wondering what’s next for Potters Cookshop. Sales have been interesting over the past two

months. August wasn’t the best for us but this was down to our water supply company Essex & Suffolk Water deciding to shut the main road for six weeks. As a result, access to our car park was very restricted. Unfortunately, it had a negative affect - and we now have the hassle of a claim for loss of takings. September was just as strange. We really had to


otters Cookshop in Essex was named the UK winner of the gia (Global Innovation Awards) programme for 2018-2019 on

October 3. The Hockley-based independent retailer joins other national winners from across the world in the competition, which was created by The International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago and the International Housewares Association (IHA) of the US to foster excellence in housewares retailing. The programme is structured on a two-tier level: national and global. Retailers are judged on their overall mission statements; vision and strategy; store design and layout; visual merchandising, displays and window displays; marketing, advertising and promotions; customer service and staff training; and innovation. Each national winner will be invited to The International Home + Housewares Show, held from March 2-5, where a jury will then select up to five Global Honorees. The results will be announced at an awards dinner during the show.

work hard to earn our money. A large majority of customers who came in were either very demanding or very angry: a worrying trend. I blame Brexit!

“ There seems to be a buzz back in the air and we are busy planning many

events leading up to Christmas ”

Special events Thankfully October has started off great so far. There seems to be a buzz back in the air and we are busy planning many events leading up to Christmas. First up on October 10 was a VIP night with

De’Longhi, where 25 guests spent the evening getting into the festive spirit, enjoying cocktails and desserts from Baileys Vanilla Silk to affogato, created using the De’Longhi PrimaDonna Elite coffee machine. We have two more events coming up: a Harry

Potter Demonstration Day on Saturday October 27 with chocolate Golden Snitches and Butterbeer, and a Christmas market weekend where they will be stalls, Father Christmas and lots of treats – plus [visual merchandiser and sales assistant] Alison Hobbs will be showing customers how to make a topsy turvy Christmas cake. These events help keep the public interested and

The in-store demo area October/November 2018

walking through the door. We will spend a lot of time pushing all of them via our social media channels, as we still find this is the best way to engage with customers. I personally couldn’t keep up with the social • | 39

media side so now we have a dedicated lady who does it for me. She is fantastic: the blogs are really informative and the number of hits we get on them is huge. It’s an important avenue for us to get the shop’s name out there - not only to encourage people to visit but for the online business too. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a huge amount of new stock delivered. I love this time of year, with all the great new lines flooding in. It’s lovely to freshen the shop up and, after the summer, it looks full and inviting again. I always have my favourites and I have to say that

I love KitchenCraft’s new blue Lovello range - and who doesn’t love KitchenCraft’s Llama egg cup? I get far more excited about an egg cup or tea towel than an expensive coffee machine. Maybe that shows I’m still passionate about products - or very weird! Now, going into the last three months of the year,

the pressure is on. We will be making sure every customer who comes in is met with a knowledgeable and friendly staff member, has a great experience, and goes away feeling good about their purchase - because that’s all that actually really matters. So fingers crossed for a successful Christmas to

everyone and afterwards, I can look forward to visiting Chicago!”

The Halloween themed window

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