Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Now Open: The New Function Junction store

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 1:30 PM

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Wilkie and Merola ladle up the soup
Was it nearly six months ago that Fat City reported that the the owners of Function Junction, Mary Merola and Rebecca Wilkie, were making plans -- big plans -- to greatly expand the culinary store on the third-floor of Crown Center?

It was the last Function Junction in the city after Merola closed the flagship store on the Country Club Plaza in late 2008; the city had once been home to several Function Junctions -- long before rivals like Crate & Barrel moved to town.

After the Plaza store closed, Crown Center executives encouraged Merola and Wilkie to expand into the vacant retail space (formerly occupied by a toy train store) adjacent to their shop. Since Merola had long wanted to have a demonstration area -- the best way to display and sell cooking products -- blueprints were drawn up for a full Viking commercial kitchen to be installed in the newly expanded store.

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Things were most assuredly cooking at the new Function Junction on Saturday morning when Wilkie and Merola threw open the doors to find a line of customers waiting to get in. The

cooking crew -- including Merola -- began whipping up pots of butternut

squash bisque and pans of freshly baked focaccia with bits of

kalamata olives. Wilkie brewed cups of espresso for customers who

needed a jolt of caffeine. Another employee popped popcorn and another

made S'mores with a product that looked like a Mattel toy.

The expanded Function Junction opened in time for the holiday season

and Merola hopes to have some kind of cooking demonstration every day. Because nothing lures customers into a culinary shop faster than the

aroma of something baking in those fancy ovens.

 

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