By Hailey Kirkwood
Have you ever gone to several stores in search of a specific cookie cutter or cake pan and just could not find what you were looking for? Orson H. Gygi’s has that covered. Are you looking for unique, innovative ideas to add to your cooking and baking arsenal? Gygi’s practically invented everything that has to do with that. Heather Smith, a manager at Gygi’s and also the daughter of Orson Gygi’s grandson Brad McDonald, explained how the company “loves starting and sharing family traditions and love to hear everyone else’s.”
Recently I experienced a dilemma of my own, scavenging around the City of Salt Lake looking for a specific Halloween themed cookie cutter. Being the season, I thought it would be easy to find what I was looking for. The next thing I know I am walking into the fourth store, slowly losing hope until I remember that Gygi’s has a giant wall that is dedicated to cookie cutters. What was I thinking? It didn’t take me more than five minutes before I found what I was looking for. Problem solved.
It all started in 1945, when a salesman by the name of Orson H. Gygi succeeded in creating a restaurant and kitchen wholesale store. Manager Heather Smith continues to fill me in, describing how in the beginning they supplied the smaller restaurants along with local churches, schools, and weddings. In 1998, a fire broke out in the building which ultimately destroyed all of their inventory. As of today, Gygi’s has a building just off of 3500 south. The main part of the store is where you will find anything you could imagine when it comes to cooking and baking. It is almost like the Costco for chef’s, with high stacks of products toward the back. The other half of the building is dedicated to their kitchen designs that you can walk around and browse the different styles they offer. Despite that one unfortunate event, Smith described how it “made it a great opportunity for us to step back and see where we wanted to take the business. At the time home cooking was growing and becoming less of a chore and a fun- entertaining thing to do.”
Gygi’s has done exactly that and after the fire, it sparked the desire to create their own kitchen design innovations. “We knew we wanted to expand and help the home chefs to make their homes as professional as possible,” explained Smith, “And our saying has always been ‘Your one stop shop’ or even ‘All things Kitchen’ so we took that to heart and made all things possible.” Being a proud customer of Gygi’s myself I always found the kitchen design showroom fascinating, seeing all of the different styles that they have created to accommodate every home chef. Now besides seeing the “pretty kitchens”, I can also see the dedication and love of the business from the staff at Gygi’s.
The company has also established an online blog, which can be found on the Orson H. Gygi website. “We wanted people to learn about our products and our ideas for uses,” Smith said, “then apply them to their lives and create memories. So many of our memories are in the kitchen- we wanted to share them with everyone.” On the company website you can also sign up to receive Gygi’s newsletter to inform you about promotions, new products, and even recipes that are all sent through email.
So much is still in store for this company, and although Smith talks about how they are working on creating multiple Gygi stores across the city their goal right now is to keep expanding their presence online. “Being able to ship our things to customers around the country has been fun to see where they go. These big cities are buying their chocolate and supplies from us instead of local to them shops.” said Smith.
When asked what her favorite part about Gygi’s is, Smith explained how it is definitely the desire to help people. “We love to hear how people are using our products,” says Smith, “how people can take the same item and use if for multiple things— like a chocolate mold- people use them for chocolates, candies, soap bombs and even doggie treats. Who would have thought!?”
If you want the ultimate “All things Kitchen” experience or are in desperate need of a specific cookie cutter, Gygi’s is located at 3500 South 300 West in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9AM-6PM, and if you can’t make it to experience the store then you can visit online at http://www.gygi.com. For any questions or interests, you can call (801) 268-3316. There is not another company around that would be happier to take your call.