Growing Gourmet Gallery celebrates national recognition, 15 years in Edmond

Edmond, OKLA — Gourmet Gallery originally opened at the Edmond Farmers Market in June 2001, selling gift baskets and securing corporate orders for the upcoming holiday season. Owners Janet McDonald and Cindy Utecht made the first corporate order for baskets in McDonald’s garage because they did not have a storefront yet.

Celebrating it’s 15th anniversary, Gourmet Gallery now has locations in Edmond at 1532 S. Boulevard and Oklahoma City at 2820 NW 122nd, plus a staff of four full time employees and six part time employees. In addition, the store employs about 30 to 40 seasonal employees during the fourth quarter that work in the warehouse making baskets. Most of these employees are retired and return to work every year to make some extra money. The owners are proud knowing they have created jobs that people look forward to coming to every year.

PHOTO: Gourmet Gallery owners Cindy Utecht (L) and Janet McDonald. Photo courtesy of the Edmond Economic Development Authority.

McDonald and Utecht chose to open their first store in Edmond because the city’s demographics lined up perfectly with a specialty food store. They stay focused on the specialty part of their business, striving to bring in products customers cannot find elsewhere. To do this, the owners go to several markets every year in search of the newest trends and always taste everything they sell. Customers know that every item was specifically chosen and most want to purchase new items right away.

The owners never thought they would have more than one location, but their second location has enabled them to grow more than they ever dreamed. They are now asked to speak at specialty food market seminars because people in their industry are very interested in the small startup business that grows due to hard work and creativity. The owners had no business template; they just listened to their customers and developed their business model based on what worked.

Gourmet Gallery has been written about in Southern Living and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines, as well as in industry trade magazines. “Discover Oklahoma” has featured the store several times and the owners appear on “Rise & Shine” for cooking segments.

McDonald and Utecht are in the process of creating a consulting business for other food companies that want a Gift Basket Program and a Gourmet Food club. The gift basket business is something they know well, including how to obtain clients, make baskets and purchase the right products. The Gourmet Food Club is a monthly membership fee based club. Other stores want to know how to plan, organize and purchase for that every month.

Gourmet Gallery is celebrating 15 years in business this year. The store will celebrate with two tasting events. The annual Made in Oklahoma tasting event on Saturday, Aug. 27 will feature more than 20 Oklahoma vendors that will be sampling their products. Then, the 15th Anniversary tasting event will be Saturday, Sept. 24 to mark the exact day that Gourmet Gallery opened 15 years ago.

For more information, visit www.thegourmetgallery.com and the Edmond Economic Development Authority.

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Kris Rush

Kris hails from a small business family. Dad and Mom raised a big family on a small turkey ranch in Fresno, California where lots of love, hard work and long days were a way of life. This early passion for small business led to life of work in their behalf. Right out of...