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We Won Big at the Oscars of Housewares Retailing

Posted by Andrea on Mar 15, 2018


Last Saturday night, The Chopping Block received an award that is the equivalent of winning an Oscar in the housewares retailing industry. It was the final step in a long journey of applications, interviews and photo shoots, and we couldn't be more proud! 

The International Housewares Association (IHA) Global Innovation Awards (gia) were created with the objective of fostering innovation and excellence in housewares retailing throughout the world. The competition is structured on a two-tier level, national and global. Co-sponsoring the country-specific gia awards programs with IHA are over 25 housewares trade publications worldwide, including The Gourmet Retailer in the U.S., which sponsor national gia programs in their respective countries.

Juries appointed by each publication select national winners who then participate in the global competition at the International Home + Housewares Show in March each year. Up to five retailers are further honored as gia Global Honorees based on the determination of a distinguished panel of international retail experts. The Chopping Block was named one of these five retailers! Here are our Owner/Chef Shelley Young and Director of Operations Liz Songer along with team members (left to right) David LaRocco, Kate Schrager, Nathan Malsch, Liz, Shelley, Shelley's wife Jennifer, Patrick Foerster and Hans Mooser accepting the award on behalf of The Chopping Block. 


Here's how it happened

Last summer, we applied to be selected for The Gourmet Retailer's Retailer of the Year award. Since The Gourmet Retailer is a co-sponsor of the U.S. gia for independent kitchenware retailers, the company that wins the Retailer of the Year is also the gia nominee for the United States. It was a pretty intense application process, but in September 2017, we were notified that we won. That meant we were the USA gia award nominee and were up against other retail businesses from 20 countries, from Uruguay, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and more for the global honorees. In addition to that honor, we received some amazing coverage as Retailer of the Year in The Gourmet Retailer. Here is the digital version of the magazine. 


“Shelley Young and her team have created the trifecta for successful independent retail: combining educational experiences, a curated selection of the best brands of the housewares industry and a highly trained staff,” says Anna Wolfe, editor-in-chief of The Gourmet Retailer. “The Chopping Block is proof that it is possible for independent retailers to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.”

Honoring excellence in housewares retailing, the gia program was created by the International Housewares Association to showcase housewares retailing innovation and merchandising distinction worldwide. Since the launch of gia in 2000, there have been close to 350 gia retail award winners, from 40 countries on six continents. Here is a list of the 2018 winners.

Shelley and Liz with Anne Kong, gia's Expert Juror

This honor brought us a lot of recognition at the IHH show at McCormick Place, including banners and interactive kiosks, as well as exposure on the IHA blog. Over 56,000 people attended this show in 2017 with even more expected this year, so that's a lot of exposure for our cooking school! 



What is "retail innovation"? 

As many of you know, we recently remodeled our Merchandise Mart location, including the retail store. That redesign added more square footage on the retail floor by eliminating the breezeway which enables us to re-position and rethink the cash wrap areas. We move our cash wraps around and ring up sales in multiple areas which allows us to accommodate guests more effectively.

The retail space features custom-designed iron shelving that meets the exact needs of the product mix. The shelving is flexible and adaptable as well, with less depth than the previous shelves. This promotes turnover of product and enhance the fullness of the stock. The iron shelves are combined with custom walnut furniture inserts to highlight knife collections, baking and bin utensils.


The remodel brought the wine and spirits to the retail floor and incorporated them into a bar that is used as a teaching space, a semi-private event venue, a cash wrap station and a happy hour destination. Shelley describes our merchandising strategy as creating a space that is easy to navigate, lively, well lit, durable, easy to clean, interactive, comfortable and approachable.


For that remodeled design, our design team also received the 2017 Design Excellence Award First Place for Retail from the American Society of Interior Designers.

Stop in our stores to see what's new!


Topics: retail, award, The Gourmet Retailer, gia award

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