Retirement is typically a time of relaxation and travel, but not for Brad and Karen Hughes. The couple planned their retirement around Artichoke
, the city’s first cookware store, which they will open on April 2 adjacent to Findlay Market
“When we started looking for a location, the logical place was Findlay Market,” Karen says. “We could have opened a storefront on Vine Street and done great, but the synergy with the market is the key component of what we wanted to do. There’s nothing like it in the city.”
The Hughes started looking for a location about two years ago. At that time, the city was in the process of releasing a number of properties, including those located at 1824, 1826 and 1828 Elm St. They purchased the three buildings with the intent of creating a storefront for Artichoke with two apartments upstairs, and then Phase II will focus on creating a new home for themselves.
The 150-year-old brick buildings were stabilized about 15 years ago by the city, which helped in the renovation process. The project is LEED Silver-certified, and the Hughes have made sure to repurpose a number of materials, including ceiling beams that are now part of the countertops and displays.
In the entryway will be a Rookwood tile mosaic welcoming customers into the 880-square-foot retail space, which also includes a demonstration kitchen. The idea is to have chefs demo 60-80 percent of the time, whether that’s chefs showcasing products from Findlay Market or chefs from around the city trying out new recipes or restaurant favorites. The demo kitchen will also have room to seat 10 people for after-hours events.
Artichoke will offer cookware only as a way to provide vessels for the food sold at Findlay Market. The Hughes are focusing on items that are responsibly and sustainably made in the U.S. and Europe, including Cristel
enamel cast iron, Revol
porcelain cookware, Fagor
pressure and multicookers, OXO
cooking tools and new electrics and Wusthof
The basement will also be stocked with a line of commercial-grade products so chefs can get what they need locally rather than having to drive out to the suburbs when in a pinch.
“After retiring, we thought about moving, but we live in Over-the-Rhine and are invested in the city and community,” Karen says. “We hated to move away and not see what happens with all of the new businesses coming in and development projects that are going on.”
Artichoke’s hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.