June 4, 2007, 12:00 AM

Cooking.com whips up growth recipe with Gourmet Catalog

Cooking.com will offer its full line of 90,000 kitchenware products through co-branded sites it’s developing for the 160 independent retailer-members of Gourmet Catalog, an industry buying group for store merchants.

Cooking.com will offer its full line of 90,000 kitchenware products through co-branded sites it’s developing for the 160 independent retailer-members of Gourmet Catalog, an industry buying group for store merchants.

“It’s a win-win situation,” says Larry Sales, vice president and general manager of Cooking.com, No. 178 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “We share our expertise in online retailing by providing Gourmet Catalog members with customized online stores and access to a widely expanded assortment. In exchange, we gain access to the largest network of specialty kitchenware stores in the country which we can leverage to bring new products and services to our own customers.”

Larry Oates, owner of Kitchen Art, one of the five Gourmet Catalog retailers that piloted the program, says the program has already brought him new business. “I have received several online orders, all of which were for products not carried at my physical store location,” Oates says. “I have also assisted several in-store customers in locating products which I do not stock by sending them to the online store."

Cooking.com, which is directing its own visitors to Gourmet Catalog retail stores through a store locator, also benefits from the program by expanding the range of content available to its customers, Cooking.com president and founder Tracy Randall says. “We believe there are many unique opportunities to work collectively with the 160 independent kitchenware stores across the country to bring exciting services to our customers,” Randall says. “While e-commerce is growing very quickly, many of our shoppers want to research on-line and buy in-store, so we are thrilled to direct our customers to these locally owned stores that share our customer service philosophy. And, these local Stores have cooking classes, kitchenware job opportunities and an incredible amount of expertise and knowledge of kitchenware that we are thrilled to be able bring to our customers over time.”

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