San Angelo's First Kitchen Store Serves City Quality
Kristin Oliver knows her kitchen, and probably has just what you need to complete yours. With hundreds of items stocked floor to ceiling and on racks, shelves and tables in between, if there’s an appliance or an apparatus your kitchen is lacking, chances are it’s because she hasn’t sold it to you yet.
Oliver runs San Angelo’s first Kitchen Emporium, and has been doing so for over 20 years. Interestingly, the idea for Sugarbaker’s (1821 Knickerbocker Rd. Suite E) doesn’t source back to a childhood dream that began with an Easy-Bake Oven.
Rather, the store’s history dates back to a Christmas conversation among family. “Basically my husband’s family just said, ‘you know what, there’s no kitchen store in San Angelo. Let’s open one.’ By summer, we were open,” Oliver says.
Back then, Oliver had just started college at ASU and had intended to become an appraiser. While she admits balancing school and work wasn’t easy, the task wasn’t all too daunting as the family already had experience in running a business.
Since the 1970s, the Oliver family has owned and operated the Pecan House in San Angelo as well. The store was founded by Oliver’s husband’s parents, and he and his siblings have all worked there. Mr. Oliver still runs the store, keeping Pecan House and Sugarbaker’s family businesses.
Since the doors first opened at Oliver’s kitchen store, several other have sprung up, but Kristin says she’s still got the market on quality and know-how.
“Our stuff is probably a little bit more high-end,” she says, “it’s a higher quality. You may pay a little bit more money now, but it’s going to last you a lot longer. A lot of things we carry come with a lifetime warranty. And we know our products.”
That product knowledge has become something the public can rely on. Oliver says a big part of the job is consultation, and always welcomes customer’s phone calls and questions.
“We have people who call all the time asking cooking questions,” Oliver says. “We do a lot of that, actually.”
Sugarbaker’s also hosts cooking classes 8-10 times annually for those who want to learn something new from a certified chef. The classes tend to only run in the fall and spring, a cap of 24 participants is placed on each class. Information and registration is disseminated via email.
“We’ve been in this location for about 17 years…ever since we’ve been here we’ve held cooking classes,” says Oliver. “There’s just all different [kinds of classes]…we’ve done deserts, we’ve done breads, there’s been Asian cooking, we’ve had a lot of home-style cooking. It just depends on the chef that we bring in.”
The space in the store is too small for attendees to actively participate, but a large mirror over the working surface aids in direction, and students go home with tips, recipes and a full stomach.
Oliver says this is just one of the things that sets Sugarbaker’s apart from the rest, but paired with “the best people in the world that work” at her store and a wide assortment from the every day to the obscure, is sure she’s got something for every kitchen and every style of cook.
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