As a young man in graduate school, I had the pleasure of living with my grandfather. My grandmother had passed away years early, but my grandfather still lived in the same home where my dad had grown up. I had already developed a love of cooking and I remember working in my grandmother’s kitchen with her collection of old but durable utensils, pots, and pans. You could feel the quality – the weight – the way the surface felt. These products were meant to last a life-time and did! Years later when my wife and I first started to outfit our kitchen, I could not find anything like my grandmother’s things. All that was available where high tech gadgets with no sole or cheap imports that broke within the year. I was missing that old world quality!
Years later we moved to the south and began enjoying true southern hospitality and the charm of a slower paced life. Finding a home is Summerville, South Carolina, we began to really appreciate the lost art of customer appreciate and service. The small local shops felt like home and the shop keepers treated us like family. After the hustle and bustle of big city shopping and crowed “everything” stores, It was refreshing to experience true small town local retail businesses. My wife even opened up her own shop and became part of the charm. Since that time the world of retail has only become colder as we move more and more to an online disconnected retail experience. Don’t get me wrong – I love the convenience and the wide range of products available almost immediately. But there is something missing.
One spring day we packed the car and traveled to the local Charleston Tea Plantation, the only active tea plantation in the United States. We took the tour and sampled the tea, It was simply beautiful and the tea was divine. At the end of the day, as I sat there relaxing on the front porch of the general store in a rocking chair – I had an idea that would change everything. Why not create a new type of business. One that combined the quality of the old world products with the hospitality of the local retail shop with the capabilities of modern manufacturing and distribution. We could provide amazing kitchen products to a whole new generation, but with the quality and feel of a by gone day. So I decided right there and then to start Schefs. We would of course start with tea products because of our location and the history of tea in this part of the country, but we eventually would expand and add numerous other kitchen and food products.
Today we have a wonderful business built around a handful of key principles – “Provide high quality old world style products combined with innovative design” – “Provide the local store retail feel to our large on-line family, so they always know we are there for them” – and finally “Build a business that leverages the best of modern manufacturing and distribution with the love of a traditional craftsman.” In addition we have an amazing team of wonderful individuals who believe in our mission and are inspired each day to bring the best possible experience and products to a wonderful family of customers.