By Matt Sutkoski
Luke Wight of Williston said he loves to cook, even if he’s just OK at it. He also has a lot of business experience on his resume.
So when the venerable Kiss The Cook store — a fixture on the Church Street Marketplace for more than 20 years — went up for sale, he jumped at the chance to buy it.
A locally owned “kitchen and gift market,” according to its website, Kiss The Cook is chockablock with kitchen equipment, tools, gadgets and fun stuff for people who like to spend time in the kitchen. The store also provides a knife sharpening service using its “Tormek sharpening system.”
The store was previously owned by Marie Bouffard and Mike Soulia until Wight, 29, took over on July 1. Bouffard and Soulia also own Apple Mountain, a Church Street gift and specialty store.
“It’s not every day that a great and well established business in Burlington becomes available,” Wight said.
All of the six people who work at Kiss The Cook have stayed on, which is fortunate, Wight said. “They’re incredibly knowledgeable,” he added. “It helps us learn the ins and outs of what they’ve been doing.”
He said Bouffard and Soulia have also been quite supportive during the transition to Wight’s ownership, which he said has been a big help.
Wight said he has no immediate plans to make major changes at Kiss The Cook. The formula for the store is working well. “We have a loyal customer base and they continue to shop here,” he said.
Eventually, things might change in the store, but that would depend upon what customers like and any trends in the kitchen equipment industry. “In the long term, we will continue to grow the business,” he said.
Wight has a Masters in Business Administration from Champlain College and has previous business experience working for Keurig Green Mountain, the Waterbury-based nationally known coffee roaster, and at WB Mason, a Brockton, Mass.-based provider of office supplies and furniture.
Wight does enjoy time in the kitchen when he’s not at work.
“For me, it’s an amateur appreciation, more of a hobby. After a long day, it’s fun,” he said.