After 40 years of business in Truckee, the Cooking Gallery opened location in Reno
November 22, 2016
The Cooking Gallery opened its second location in the Arlington Gardens Mall near the corner of Plumb Lane and Arlington Avenue earlier this month.
The Preaseaus' years of experience in the kitchen retail business is one of the reasons you can find everything from ceramic knives and cauliflower ricers to more obviously useful cast iron skillets and coffee mugs in their small 1200-foot space.
Suzanne Preaseau explained the struggles of optimizing the space, and mentioned they are already expanding to two very small additional spaces in Arlington Gardens. That expansion will allow the Preaseaus to feature their linens and pottery, allowing their Reno location to carry everything they have in Truckee.
"I spent three months working in Truckee until 6 p.m. driving to Reno and working until 2 a.m. to get the retail space optimized," Preaseau said.
Their long-standing history in Truckee aided in their ability to optimize the Arlington Gardens location as quickly as they did.
The Cooking Gallery has been in business for 40 years. Their Truckee location has been staple in the town for the past 20 years.
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The Cooking Gallery first opened its doors in Tahoe City in 1973. In 1984, Christa and Mike Preaseau, bought the store. Under their ownership the Cooking Gallery grew from its original 400-foot location in the Cobblestone Center to its current 4,000-foot location in Historic Downtown Truckee
Their daughter, Suzanne Preaseau, explained rents were rising in Tahoe City and her parents wanted to expand the business.
"My dad decided on Truckee," Preaseau explained.
Despite chatter that the move to Truckee would be bad for their business, they moved into the space where Robert's Hardware used to be. They remodeled and opened in 1995.
"I would go work for them in the summer from college," Preaseau said.
Her parents retired in 2000 and Suzanne and her brother, Mike, took on the business.
"We wanted to live in Tahoe, so we decided to take it over," she said.
Like many, the Great Recession was a very difficult time to be in a kitchen retail business.
"We weathered the storm in 2008," Preaseau said.
They got their feet back on the ground and felt they were ready to open a second location.
Reno seemed like a natural fit for several reasons.
They already had customers from Reno, which made the choice for a second location easier.
Second, Reno has become foodie friendly and features great restaurants.
Finally, the area is much less seasonal than downtown Truckee. Their rent in Truckee is very high, which during the low season can make profitability challenging for Mike and Suzanne.
They selected their Arlington Gardens Mall location after a friend pointed it out in the end of 2015.
"It has a city hometown feel, not a big city feel," Preaseau said.
Arlington Gardens, the small mall on West Plumb Lane once owned by the Junior League of Reno, is being redeveloped and the Cooking Gallery is looking forward to the future of the location.
The space they moved into was vacant for at least four years prior to their move in, and their presence in Arlington Mall is bringing new attention to the space.
Kitchen items are very unique, "there is nothing like us here (in Reno)," she said.
Preaseau noted the knowledge, customer service and education they can provide to customers as part of what makes the Cooking Gallery so unique.
Suzanne explained that prior to 2008, their staff Mike, herself and some temporary hires.
Now, their Truckee location has two-to-three part-time employees, and Reno has two part-time as well. Mike and Suzanne both still spend time working at both locations.
Their Reno location is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Preaseau explained they plan on having small demo classes teaching how to use specialized items and to try and encourage kids to get involved with cooking as well.