The Kansas City Star reported this week that the Country Club Plaza has signed Seattle-based Sur La Table, an upscale store that sells cookware, cutlery, dinnerware and kitchen gadgets, to take over the venue at 430 Nichols Road, the former location of the Sony Style store.
The Plaza already has stores that carry upscale kitchen cookware, gadgets and gourmet food products: the 22-year-old Williams-Sonoma store at 4764 Broadway and the well-stocked gourmet and kitchen department of the Hall's Plaza store. And less than seven minutes away, in Westport, is the 43-year-old Pryde's Old Westport.
This week, Fat City took a gander at some of the 30,000 kitchen gadgets sold at Pryde's Old Westport, perhaps the most beloved culinary shop in the metro. The owner, Louise Meyers, purchased the business from her parents over a decade ago. She's maintaining an upbeat attitude -- or at least the veneer of one -- when asked about the new Sur La Table store.
"Do I think it will affect our business? Of course, it will," Meyers says. "We knew that the Williams-Sonoma store would impact our business when it moved in two decades ago. But we've developed a very good relationship with Williams-Sonoma, even though we carry some of the same products. We send customers to them, and they send customers to us."
Williams-Sonoma manager Kim Meyers -- no relation to Louise -- agrees that the Plaza location of the California-based Williams-Sonoma has a healthy relationship with Pryde's and, frankly, isn't too concerned about the addition of Sur La Table to the Plaza.
"We carry a lot of the same product lines," Kim Meyers says. "And we both offer cooking classes. But there are big difference between the store concepts."
Louise Meyers, who has visited Sur La Table stores in other cities, says the stores are much more like her independently owned shop than Williams-Sonoma (although Pryde's does not offer cooking classes). "They have wood floors and lots of inventory, like us."
An e-mail from Sur La Table's media relations manager, Susanna Lindse, confirms that Sur La Table carries a lot of products: "(The stores) carry one of the broadest assortments of coffee equipment in the country, from French presses to super-automatic coffee centers, including a 'coffee bar' where customers can test machines and taste the coffee."
Lindse adds: "Over 90 percent of the (Sur La Table) tabletop collection is exclusive and 50-percent is made in Europe ... it is stocked with every tool imaginable -- barquette molds, flan rings, dough pricklers, lames, and cake combs."
A dough prickler only sounds like something you might find at Cirella's. According to Pryde's Louise Meyers, the device is also known as a "dough docker," and it's used to perforate dough before it's baked. "Most people use them for pizza dough," she says. You can buy her dough prickler. It's $10.95, plus tax.
But, again, Louise Meyers swears that she isn't worried about Sur La Table -- and its tools -- arriving on the Plaza: "I believe that competition is good for all of us."