Cook, who goes to the International Home + Housewares Show and
has attended the Fancy Food Show, is a proponent of new products.
“We definitely jump into a lot of new items,” she said, both ones she
finds and those that come as part of the store’s HTI Buying Group
Now You’re Cooking participates in the HTI catalog, so Cook tries to
bring in as many of the catalog items as possible. “We don’t bring
everything in, but there is a lot that is needed for that,” she said. The
HTI catalog, which is personalized for participating stores, comes out
twice a year.
Sometimes, she said, she’ll pick up a product just due to word of
mouth from other retailers, such as her counterparts in the buying
Trying out items is important, but not a deal-breaker for Cook. She
likes to get sample items so both staff and customers can try them
out. “If you get a product in someone’s hand, it’s great,” she said.
And with any new item or new company, Cook said there needs to be
education for the staff so they can speak knowledgeably to shoppers.
“satisfying your thirst for
So, what is Cook most excited about these days? “I’m passionate
about companies that are doing items that have real thought behind
them,” she said, such as Clarendon hardwood bowls made in Vermont.
covering everything beverage-related:
coffee & tea, water, energy drinks, dairy
beverages and sports drinks. trends,
industry insights, marketing inspiration
and new product introductions.
She also likes to support local producers, whether it’s a coffee roaster, a cookbook author or a Maine-based company like Vejibag, which
has created an organic cotton greens-keeping sack. It’s an item that a
customer brought to her attention “and I’m so glad they did.”
Edited by Laura Everage, who has
written about the coffee and tea
industries for nearly two decades.