BY MICHELLE MASTRO
Goods for Cooks owners Samantha Eibling and her brother, George Huntington, say there’s nothing quite like the experience of owning—or shopping at—a small, locally owned business. “People come in all the time to talk about their love of food. It’s something we all share,” Huntington says. “There’s a really good energy in the store. Sometimes we even get customers who bring in food they made using their purchases.”
But good vibes and foodie love aren’t the only reasons to visit the shop, which opened as Goods, Inc. in 1973. The store, at 115 N. College, is split by a walkway. Cookware and kitchen gadgets are sold on one side. On the other, customers will find a gourmet selection of “spice blends, jams, jellies, and sauces that spike up a meal,” Huntington says. “We listen to what shoppers have to tell us and stock foods they like. At the end of the day, if you listen to folks, the store will continue to do well. A lot of folks in Bloomington still believe in shopping local.”
Samples of hot beverages, like local products from Brown County Coffee and Cup & Kettle Tea Company, are available for tasting. Vinegars and olive oils are also available at the store’s tasting bar, while opportunities to try bits of cookies, crackers, and cheeses appear throughout the shop.
Selling food this way seemed like “a natural progression for a cooking store,” Eibling says. “Besides, the owner before us, Andrew [Appel], appreciated fine foods and enjoyed discovering hard-to-find ingredients for customers. We’ve tried to expand on that.”
On the shelves and tables, curious shoppers will find a variety of interesting and unique items to try, including Iberico pork sausage from Spain; cherry preserves from American Spoon, a Michigan-based brand (and a best-seller at Goods); and an assortment of tinned fish, from traditional smoked sardines and exotic octopus to hard-to-find José Gourmet tuna. In the cooler there are a variety of smoked salmons, whitefish and seafood spreads, and other delicacies.
Among the hustle and bustle of the store, one of the best treats is taking the time to talk to customers and help them plan their meals, Eibling says. “We encourage people to come together around food and empower people to connect through a love of cooking,” she says.
For more information, visit goodsforcooks.com.