The scene: The sleepy village of Lahaska, 1969. The intersection of U.S. Route 202 and Street Road.
Peddler’s Village had changed the landscape seven years earlier, when it opened 14 shops and the landmark Cock ’n Bull restaurant. It was home to a flea market and antiques shops, but not much else.
That was the year Florence Kummer and her daughter Barbara Orphanides moved their business into the old stone house that faces Upper York Road (Route 263). The house, which had once belonged to one of Bucks County’s writers, had been converted to shops, one on the main floor, another below, built into the rolling landscape, next to a water wheel.
Florence had run a shop before – she was a weaver and her husband, George, was an artist. The shop sold hand crafts and art, inluding their own creations.
When the space in Peddler’s Village was available, Florence, the story goes, said to her daughter, a nurse, “Let’s open a store together?” Barbara jumped on board.
Then they wondered: “What shall we sell?”
It was around the time Julia Child, a frequent visitor to Bucks County, was becoming more and more popular. Cooks around the country wanted to use the pots and tools that Julia Child was using.
Florence and Barbara decided to open the Cookery Ware Shop and they stocked it with the finest culinary products they could find. It was an oasis of quality in an unexpected rural location. set snugly between two country roads.
George Kummer designed the logo, put it on a sign and the new enterprise was born.
The Cookery Ware Shop was a immediate success and it has remained so for a half century. Lisa Orphanides, Barbara’s daughter, is now the proprietor.
“It’s a recession-proof business.” Lisa said as she prepared for a celebration. She grew up in the store, tagging along with Mom as a toddler and working there as she grew.
Tourists and locals come in to browse and often pick up some fascinating bowl or fine tuned knife. Just about everyone, male or female, wealthy and not so wealthy, can find a gift or a needed tool there.
“We have items from 25 cents to $500,” Lisa said.
She works in a back room with ears on activities in the shop, ordering hundreds of items, some quite small, others very large. Keeping up with the inventory every day is a challenge. There are knives, baking tools, pots, bowls, jars, glasses, linens and more. Lisa’s sister Christina handles the financial accounting for the business.
Lisa’s grandmother, Florence, retired in 1990 and Lisa worked with her mother. Raised in Solebury and Furlong, Lisa had majored in psychology at Penn but she put that behind her to be at the Cookery Shop.
Barbara, who worked at the shop for 44 years, died in 2013.
“Barbara was an inspiring matriarch that had an affinity for bringing the family together, especially for good food and lively gatherings.” her obituary said. “Her giving and selfless nature extended throughout her life, including a career as a psychiatric nurse, after graduating from Cornell University - New York Hospital School of Nursing in 1959.”
Her husband, Christos, was a manufacurer of cookie cutters – a likely business to inspire the family business.
Lisa believes that the Cookery Ware Shop is the oldest continuously operating and family-owned businesses in Peddler’s Village. The shopkeepers own their businesses but lease the space.
What people are seeing of celebrity chefs and television shows, feeds the business, Lisa said, and sales are cyclical. “Something can sit on a shelf for two years, and suddenly it’s sold.”
She doesn’t worry if she has a couple of bad months – she expects to bounce back. Mostly, there are no bad months.
“Why are we still here?” she wonders. “People leave here with a great impression – we are honest, humble,friendly. We have great customer service so there’s loyalty.”
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Cookery Ware Shop will hold open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 6. There will be cake, entertainment and hundreds of pick-your-own door prizes.
You can enter a drawing to win a Smeg stand mixer. The drawing will run through Sunday, July 7. Entry forms are at the shop. Winners will be drawn on Monday, July 8.
Lisa has resurrected and refurbished the shop’s original sign, designed by her grandfather to mark the occasion. The sign is hanging now at the store.
“The Cookery Ware Shop is the area’s premier source for home cooks and professional chefs,” the website says. “We have established a reputation for supplying the finest culinary products from the basic to the obscure since 1969.”