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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cloverdale Comments - October 2011

We Love Ken Knight! 
Ken Knight, a delightful person and one of Cloverdale’s most dedicated, effective volunteers has a new, namesake gift and specialty store in town which has won both my heart and that of my spouse, Roz.

Quite a retail breakthrough given that we are two very different customers who rarely care for the same shopping experience. As it turns out, we love Ken Knight for two very different reasons: I love the store because I love to shop while Roz loves the store because she hates to shop!
You see, I’m A Browser
I love Ken Knight because I can take my sweet time there. Wander. Scrutinize. Read labels. Have fun. Even ask Ken, himself, about an item.

Yet there’s never pressure to buy. Ken respects customers, as too few retailers do, and I find he is there to serve, not “sell” us.

As a Browser always searching for treasures, I often buy on impulse or months ahead for gift-giving and am always thrilled to spot the quality and affordability that make for real value.

Here are some of my Ken Knight browser’s favorites: stylish, surprisingly sturdy, hand-woven watervine host/ess serving trays by Philippine artisans; a splendid array of Italian leather photo albums from a 100 year-old factory in Florence; a selection of books, including travel and cooking, which tells me Ken knows that real readers still love real paper; a graceful vase that’s a likely gift for a formidable BFF whose exquisite taste (and bottomless bank account) can intimidate us lesser mortals at holiday time.

I’m Also A Panic Buyer 
I’ll charge in. Frantic. Racing against time, budget and chance. Relief! Ken Knight comes through with just the thing for a housewarming that starts in one hour and which I could have sworn was not until next week!

Panic Buyer’s favorites: a greeting card collection I haven’t found anywhere else with 100s of funny, witty, wise or beautifully crafted messages to express exactly what I want to say; fragrant soaps and candles; eye-catching tableware; keepsake picture frames.  

While Roz is a Bee-Liner 
Never panics. Organized. Keeps list of friends, family and colleagues’ birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and other important occasions. Knows what she likes. Prefers to self-select. Hovering or relentlessly animated salespeople give her hives. Buys only the best, particularly for gifts. Likes to know and trust the owner’s taste and track record. Loves Ken Knight because she can get in, get on with it, and get out in minutes.

Bee-liner’s favorites: elegant baskets like the one to hold all her craft supplies chair-side; stunning, delicate handcrafted jewelry; oil paintings by the incomparable Victoria Reynolds and other local artists.   

Ken Knight, the Store 
Opened in May. Instant success. Bright. Tasteful. Welcoming. Wide isles  invite exploring and lingering. Uncluttered even with shelves filled with a wonderful selection of finds from toys (wooden or cuddly) to rustic home décor and much, much more.      

In fact, there’s more to see and experience than I can tell you about here because Ken Knight, the person, is a visionary retailer who has designed, stocked and manages Ken Knight, the store, to appeal to all types of customers – browser, panic buyer, bee-liner and everyone in between.    

Ken Knight, the Person
The moment you enter, you see his characteristically deft touch, good taste, acumen and talent in every single thing Ken has selected for us, as well as in the often subtle ways he has fashioned his store’s distinctive ambiance.

Ken’s executive and entrepreneurial career with retailing legends including Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Williams-Sonoma spans some 35 years. Plus, unlike many who try, Ken has also enjoyed considerable success as an independent retailer. His Dallas store was, itself, legendary!

Mega-chains often lack a distinguishing personality so it’s inspiring, and a relief, to escape into this unique store where the place and the man who created it can be expressed as one:

Ken Knight, 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd.; Open Tues.–Sat.; 11a.m. to 6p.m. 707-894-2520.