Local cooks must say goodbye to a beloved Companion.
The owner of Brooklyn Heights culinary-supply shop A Cook’s Companion is closing her kitchen store on Sunday, weeks earlier than originally planned, because her loyal patrons nearly wiped the place clean when they found out it would shutter this month.
“People came in panic buying, and I said, ‘Don’t panic, just enjoy!’ ” said Jennifer Baron, who lives in Bay Ridge. “The outpouring of support has been phenomenal. I was blindsided by it to be honest.”
Baron opened the woman-owned business on Atlantic Avenue between Court and Clinton streets in 1997, and soon after amateur and experienced chefs alike began flocking to it for must-have kitchen appliances, cookware, decor, and other culinary bric-a-brac.
But when this newspaper visited the shop on Thursday, many of its shelves, which are for sale themselves, were empty. The handful of goods that remained — including coffee machines, champagne flutes, cookie cutters, and tubes of colored icing — were deeply discounted.
And that’s because customers of the store quickly filled their bags when Baron announced last month she would be closing it at the end of February after more than 20 years in business, she said.
“I had no idea that everything would go this quickly,” she said.
The store known for its red-and-white-striped awning stood out among its competitors for carrying products shoppers couldn’t find at other markets, according to one loyal customer.
“Whenever I had to get a gift, I would go there,” said Donna Miller Kafko. “That store was very unique, and had things you really couldn’t find at your average Target. It’s going to be a loss to the neighborhood.”
A Cook’s Companion even gained cult-like status among a group of fizz-loving Brooklynites who returned time and again for the hard-to-come-by — and sometimes contentious — Soda Stream machine and its carbon-dioxide canisters, which together turn still water into seltzer.
But Baron said she is not abandoning her soda-water-loving clientele when the shop closes, and is working with the company that makes the appliance to find a new local vendor to sell its products. In the meantime, she recommends shoppers visit Park Slope kitchen supplier Tarzian West on Seventh Avenue to get their bubble fix.
“I am working with Soda Stream to find a new alternative,” she said. “Keep your eyes peeled in the neighborhood, because something will certainly be popping up.”
Baron said that she simply fizzled out after more than two decades in business, and is shuttering the retailer in order to spend more time with family.
But she will always remember her time serving Brooklyn Heights — and those customers who often became friends, she said.
“I want my customers to know it’s just been a joy. I thank them for all the support,” Baron said. “The past two weeks have been crazy, but the past 20 years have been a blessing.”