New kitchen store creates more reasons to shop Washington

Donelle Pardee Whiting
Gary Peifer (in white) measures up the wall while Bill Shepard holds the end of the tape measure in preparation for mounting two-by-fours that will hold cabinets on the wall at Lori's Kitchen Store on the square. Peifer is owner Lori Peifer's father-in-law, and Shepard is a family friend. The two were among several helpers who worked for lunch and homemade cookies Saturday.

The face of Washington Square is changing with the addition of Lori’s Kitchen Store.

Lori Peifer, with her mother, Carol Gonzales, was a Pampered Chef director for more than 10 years.

“It was time for a change,” Peifer said. “I liked the cooking classes, but didn’t like the time limitations of a Pampered Chef (gathering).”

Once Peifer decided to open her own store, she began looking for a place on the square.

“I love the square. It is so unique,” she said, adding that the square was part of what convinced her to move to Washington with her family.

Other aspects of Washington that attracted the Peifer family were the schools and community itself, Peifer said.

While looking for her store, Peifer said she began preparing by laying down the groundwork and completing all the necessary paperwork.

Peifer and Gonzales are co-owners, with Peifer running the retail side, while her mother takes care of the business side and paperwork.

“I hate paperwork,” Peifer said.

Peifer’s inventory will include stoneware baking dishes, cast iron and stainless steel cookware and a wide assortment of kitchen gadgets.

“We will have Kitchen Aid mixers in a variety of colors,” Peifer said, “and we will also have new attachments for the mixers.”

One such attachment, she said, is a squeege that will scrape the bowl clean.

Peifer said if there is a specific item a customer needs or wants, she will do her best to get it for them.

One thing that will make Lori’s Kitchen Store unique to Washington will be the cooking classes.

“I love to cook, mostly baking, though,” Peifer said.

She has already begun hiring people to teach a variety of classes.

Peifer also plans to teach, and said she is looking forward to the first class, which will focus on pies.

The classes are designed to show that people do not need to be Julia Child to enjoy and be good at cooking, Peifer said.

Classes are $35 to $50, based on the type of class, and there is room for about two dozen people.

Participants will be able to sample the recipe and take it home.

As part of the cooking portion, Peifer plans to offer children’s birthday parties where the girls can decorate their own cupcakes.

There will also be a one-week cooking camp available for teens.

Participants will be able to make and eat their own breakfast and lunch. They will also be able to prepare a dinner to take home.

Classes will begin in October, Peifer said.

“My mom has been baking since before she could see over the counter,” Peifer said, adding that she remembers learning to cook when she was little, but did not truly pay attention and appreciate the value until she got married 14 years ago.

Aside from cooking wares, Peifer will also carry her own spice mixes and her Clever Chocolates.

“The chocolates are quite unique,” Peifer said.

Peifer originally began selling Clever Chocolates out of her home after word spread about her unique creations.

Among her offerings are chocolate hearts and eggs that are hollow and filled with little candies.

“The eggs are really popular,” Peifer said, adding that they come in a variety of colors.

“The eggs just happened. I first made them for my kids,” Peifer said, “then for neighbors and co-workers.”

Her daughter, Kayla, helps by decorating the chocolate eyeballs, she said. “Kayla is my assistant in making chocolates.”

Peifer also plans to have a bridal registery and make wish lists available to help husbands and children shop for their wives and mothers.

Peifer said she is planning on a soft opening for the week of Sept. 8 with the grand opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 27.

“There will be extra sampling,” she said, “and visitors can register for free products and a free class.”

Peifer said she is excited about opening, adding that she already sold a gift certificate.

Peifer’s family is also in on the excitement, helping whenever they can.

Peifer’s husband, Mike, helped install cabinets and set up her computer.

Kayla has taken over the basic meal and cookie dough preparation.

And her sons, Tyler, 13, and Dalton, 8, helped hang display hooks and put price stickers on merchandise.

Peifer said people can go to her Web site, www.loriskitchenstore.com, to get an idea of some of the items she plans to carry.

Customers can also sign up for the newsletter and the mailing list.

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.